If you know you’re a good Ohio driver and that nothing quite disturbs you so much as seeing a vehicle rapidly pull up behind you and subsequently follow you so closely that it fully occupies your rear-view mirror, know that your fears about that driving behavior are well-grounded.
In fact, states the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP), tailgating resulted in a whopping 65,500 car crashes in the state last year, which makes following too closely the leading cause by far of car accidents.
And, yes, that driving transgression turns out far too often to have sadly serious consequences. Traffic authorities say that crashes attributed to tailgating took the lives of 58 state residents last year and injured an additional 18,500-plus people.
Tailgaters can be especially dangerous in roadway work zones, where other distractions are already going on. A word of caution for all drivers in such areas, particularly in the summer months, when street and highway projects are underway in earnest: Exercise all due care and think constantly about a safe driving distance between vehicles.
Of course, such thinking simply doesn’t occur for bad drivers who are seemingly oblivious to the need to maintain a proper distance. The OSHP wants them to know that, at 55 miles per hour, it takes an average driver about 120 feet to simply recognize the need to brake and start taking action. In many cases, tailgating results in that action being simply too late, imperiling both them and people in other vehicles.
About 22,000 citations were handed out last year to drivers following other vehicles too closely. That number was up nearly 50 percent from 2011.
Source: Lima Ohio, “Following too closely lead cause of Ohio crashes last year,” Kate Malongowski, June 9, 2013