Driver safety tip: maintaining a 3-second gap

Tailgating isn’t just the super fun American tradition of BBQ-ing from the boot of your car before a footy match. It’s also the term used for following the car in front of you too closely when driving. Tailgating is considered aggressive and dangerous behaviour and has been the cause of some pretty serious accidents.

Here’s how to avoid tailgating in your driving habits and ensure a safe distance.

Tailgating: the facts

  • Tailgating intimidates and distracts the driver in front.
  • If you are tailgating, you will not have sufficient time to brake if something sudden happens to the car in front of you.
  • 40% of all crashes are rear-ended crashes.
  • Tailgating can land you with a $284 fine and the loss of one demerit point in QLD.  

Breaking the habit

In cities especially, tailgating is sometimes considered the norm, but in reality, is extremely dangerous. Now we know what you’re thinking, a three-second gap between you and the car in front is just space for another driver to slip into. Don’t fall into this trap of thinking! Rear end car crashes are frequent but are easily avoidable by ensuring that you leave yourself enough reaction time to rectify any emergency situation in front of you.

Still not convinced?

The driver behind is almost ALWAYS held responsible for a rear-end accident. And even if an accident doesn’t occur, anyone can report a tailgating driver to the police by quoting their vehicle’s number plate and claiming dangerous road behaviour.

Keeping a safe distance

A 2-3 second gap in normal weather and a 4-6 second gap in wet weather will allow you enough time to react and stop in case the vehicle in front of you experiences an emergency.

What to do if someone is tailgating you

Never let another driver intimidate you. Pull to the side and let them pass if they are following you too closely or swerving on your tail. If you can, note their number plate and report their behaviour to the police. We know it may be tempting to slow right down to ‘teach them a lesson’, but remember that you don’t know the type of person in the vehicle. Road rage can be a serious issue, and aggravating a driver even further can result in accidents and aggressive behaviour.


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