car following closely behind another car

Most drivers know all too well how frustrating it can be to travel behind a vehicle moving too slowly. However, frustration is no excuse for engaging in dangerous behaviors like following too closely or “tailgating.”

This article explains why tailgating is so risky and what you should do next time another driver follows you too closely.

SC Tailgating Statistics and Laws

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), two-vehicle rear-end crashes are the most common type of traffic accident nationwide. In one recent year, more than 1.4 million rear-end crashes occurred throughout the United States, representing nearly 28 percent of all wrecks nationwide. Many of these rear-end collisions occur because drivers tailgate or follow too closely.

Section 56-5-1930 of the South Carolina Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways aims to reduce rear-end collisions statewide by prohibiting drivers from following too closely on public roads. Specifically, the law says:

  • Drivers must not follow other vehicles more closely than is “reasonable and prudent” given the relative speed of both vehicles and present road conditions.
  • Drivers must leave enough space around their vehicles for others to overtake and pass in front of them when conditions permit.

Why Is Tailgating Dangerous?

Tailgating is dangerous because it reduces a driver’s space to slow down, stop, or react to imminent traffic hazards. When drivers tailgate, they do not leave much room for error, meaning even a small mistake can have significant consequences. They may not have enough time to perceive, react to, and avoid hazardous scenarios.

Steps to Take When Someone Is Tailgating You

The next time someone is tailgating you, keep the following tips in mind to decrease the likelihood of a crash:

  • Remain calm and resist the urge to retaliate.
  • Give the other driver as much space as possible.
  • If possible, switch lanes and allow the other driver to pass.
  • Maintain a steady speed rather than speeding up or slowing down.
  • Brake gently if you need to decelerate or stop.
  • Call the police if the other driver seems malicious or intoxicated.
  • Pay attention and be cautious while the driver is behind you.

It is often tempting to respond aggressively when another driver is following too closely, but that behavior can increase the risk of an accident. Here is what not to do when someone follows too closely behind your vehicle:

  • Do not shout or gesture at the other driver.
  • Do not attempt to incite or upset the other driver.
  • Do not “brake check” the other driver or overuse your brakes.
  • Do not make sudden or unpredictable maneuvers.
  • Do not try to prevent the other driver from speeding or being aggressive.

Contact Our SC Personal Injury Lawyers for Help After a Tailgating Crash

If you were hurt in a South Carolina car accident involving a tailgating driver, the team at Jebaily Law Firm can evaluate your case and explain your legal options. Contact our SC personal injury lawyers to get started with a free consultation.


George Jebaily

George D. Jebaily, Managing Partner, is the lead attorney for the Personal Injury Team at Jebaily Law Firm, and in 2014 was elected as an at–large member of Florence City Council.