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What to know if you are hit by a tailgater

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2022 | Personal injury

In Altoona and across Pennsylvania, drivers are justifiably concerned about safety when they take to the state roadways. In recent years, speeding, distraction and drivers who are under the influence has increased markedly. With that has been a spike in accidents with injuries and death.

Another concern that is growing significantly more troubling is aggressive drivers. Specifically, drivers who tailgate. Drivers are trained and warned not to tailgate, but some continue to do it. It is important for those who were hit by a tailgater to understand their rights and what steps they should take in the aftermath.

Pennsylvania has had a problem with aggressive driving

Pennsylvania law enforcement had initiated a crackdown on aggressive driving immediately after Independence Day celebrations. It continued through the next-to-last week in August. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and other entities, the ticket-writing campaign is meant to emphasize to drivers that they are acting in ways that put others in jeopardy.

Aggressiveness is cited as a primary factor in auto accidents with injuries and death in the state. Often, people do not even realize they are being too aggressive. Tailgating is one of the behaviors that was referenced as being overly aggressive. State law dictates how closely vehicles are supposed to remain behind other vehicles. The distances should be “reasonable and prudent.” This is based on the road conditions, the speed that the vehicles are traveling, the traffic and other factors.

Tailgating accidents can cause severe injuries and death

Tailgating can cause extensive damage to those who are hit from behind because they are inherently vulnerable. A rear-end crash is unexpected and people are unable to brace for it in any way. It can cause back injuries, neck injuries through whiplash, brain trauma and worse if the tailgater forces the vehicle into another vehicle in front of it.

People who were hit in a tailgating crash could be under the immediate impression that they escaped serious injury if there are not obvious aches and pains in its aftermath. However, with these types of collisions, the injuries take some time to manifest and people do not realize how severe they are. It is essential to get checked out by a doctor.

The cause of the accident can also be important. People need to ask the question as to why the driver was tailgating them in the first place. Were they distracted by a handheld device? Was it aggressive driving that led them to following too closely? Were they simply being reckless? Or was it an intentional act because the driver ahead was not going fast enough even though they might have been obeying the speed limit?

Understanding what to do after a tailgating accident may require help

After receiving medical attention, exchanging information and making sure a police report was filed, it is crucial to know what other steps are available. The long-term damage from a rear-end accident caused by a tailgater can be substantial. Not only might there be hefty medical expenses, but there may be lost income from being unable to work, emotional damage and the need for long-term care.

It is wise to consult with professionals who know how to investigate all types of motor vehicle accidents and determine how to move forward. This is a key part of the process that should not be ignored.