The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

June 14, 2013

OHP says tailgating leading cause of crashes in 2012

Star Beacon

CHARDON — Have you been tailgated by an impatient, inattentive or aggressive driver? Motorists failing to maintain an assured clear distance or following too close was the primary factor in 65,580 crashes in 2012, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Of these crashes, 58 people were killed and 18,552 were injured. That is why OHP is urging all motorists to ensure a safe distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them.

Ohio Revised Code states drivers should allow enough space between their vehicle and another vehicle ahead so an overtaking motor vehicle may enter and occupy such space without danger.

If a driver is traveling 65 mph, they are traveling about 95 feet-per-second. In three seconds you have traveled nearly the length of a football field. The average person takes about three-quarter of a second to perceive a hazard and an additional three-quarters of a second to react by applying the brakes, turning the wheel or whatever action they deem necessary to avoid the hazard. Traveling at 65 mph, in 1.5 seconds the driver has traveled a little more than 142 feet.

“Do the math — if that driver was following too closely, there is no time for them to stop before they hit the rear end of the vehicle in front of them,” Chardon Post Commander Lt. Mark A. Neff said. “That is why it is important to always maintain a safe following distance.”



• Following too closely was the cause of 25 percent of all crashes in Ohio last year;

• In 2012, OHP troopers issued 21,925 citations for tailgating, and

• A good rule of thumb to avoid following too closely crashes is to maintain a distance of three seconds behind the vehicle in front of yours. Us a light or sign post as a landmark to begin your count.

Drivers also are reminded that if they follow too closely they are diminishing their view of the big picture, meaning they are unable to see what is going on further down the roadway. It is always important for drivers to be aware of their surroundings while operating a motor vehicle so they are able to react defensively.

The patrol asks drivers to call #677 to report impaired drivers or drug activity.