|In an effort to raise awareness and reduce traffic accidents caused by "following too closely" or tailgating, the Joplin Police Department has purchased a handheld Distance Between Cars laser to better determine the distance between two moving vehicles, and, based upon their speed, the time it would take to collide. Before the purchase of the laser made by Laser Technologies "following too closely" was determined only by observation. The new laser will provide accurate information that may be used as evidence in court.
Since January of 2012 the department generated 948 accident reports. Tailgating was deemed the third highest contributing circumstance.
The following stats are from 2011:
- 23% - inattention
- 21% - failure to yield
- 19% - following too closely
- 25% - failure to yield
- 18% - inattention
- 12.5% - violation of sign/signal
- 11.6% - following too closely
The department would like to remind people to follow the rules of the road and make sure they are allowing enough space behind the vehicle in front of them in order to react in a timely manner. The faster the speed the more distance a driver should allow.
Tips from the Missouri Drivers Handbook
Following other vehicles - Be sure to keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. You need a safe distance to stop or turn to avoid an accident. Rear-end crashes are very common. They are caused by drivers who follow too closely and cannot stop in time when the vehicle ahead suddenly stops.
Three second rule - A good way to measure your safe following distance is to use the “three second rule.” Choose an object near the road ahead, like a sign or telephone pole. As the vehicle ahead of you passes it, count slowly, “One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three.” If you reach the object before you finish counting, you are too close to the vehicle ahead.
Space behind - It is not always easy to maintain a safe distance behind your vehicle. However, you can help keep the driver at a safe distance by keeping a steady speed, and signaling in advance when you slow down.
Follow these safety tips:
- Try to find a safe place out of traffic to stop and pick up or let off passengers.
- If you want to parallel park and there is traffic coming behind you, put on your turn signal, pull next to the space, and allow vehicles to pass beforeyou park.
- When you have to drive so slowly that you slow down other vehicles, pull to the side of the road when it is safe to do so, and let them pass. There are turnout areas on some two-lane roads you could use. Other two-lane roads sometimes have passing lanes.
- If you are followed too closely or “tailgated” by another driver, and there is a right lane, move over to the right. If there is no right lane, wait until the road ahead is clear and then reduce speed slowly. This will encourage the tailgater to drive around you. Never slow down quickly to discourage a tailgater. This will only increase your risk of being hit from
For more information on this laser technology go here. Funding for the laser was provided by Missouri Highway and Transportations Commission Blueprint for Safer Roadways.