Tampa Woman Tailgating Semi in Critical Condition

A 27-year-old woman was critically injured after driving her Toyota sedan into the rear of a semi truck on Interstate 75 early Monday morning January 11. The Florida auto injury accident happened about 1 a.m. near Big Bend Road, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The injured woman is in Tampa General Hospital in critical condition, while the truck driver of Palm Bay Florida was not injured. We send her our prayers for a swift recovery.

After the woman hit the truck from behind, she spun into the grass median. The FHP will have to determine if she ever applied the brakes. If not, it is likely she was distracted or too tired to be behind the wheel.

Distracted Drivers
An investigator should begin by checking the cell phone records of this driver to see whether she was on the phone before hitting the back of the tractor-trailer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates at least one quarter of crashes involves some form of driver inattention. Distraction is just one form of inattention and is a factor in more than half of these crashes. And distracted driving can include tuning the radio, reaching into the back seat, picking up something from the floor, drinking and smoking, texting, and putting on makeup, among other things.

Following Too Closely
Following a vehicle too closely is called tailgating and it is a form of aggressive driving that gives you few options if you need to stop suddenly.

Want to figure out how closely to follow the vehicle in front? Try the three-second rule. Select a fixed object such as a sign or tree. When the vehicle ahead passed the object slowly count ‘one-one-thousand” “two one-thousand” “three one-thousand” – making sure there is at least three seconds between you and the vehicle in front.

Smart Motorist provides a good chart, but basically if you are traveling at 25 mph, that is 37 feet per second, you should travel at least 111 feet behind the vehicle in front of you. Up to 55 mph and that ups to 243 to 468 feet behind the vehicle in front. Adjust your speed with road conditions, increasing the distance if there is rain, fog, ice, and snow.

Smart motorist finds that among young drivers, 19 percent admit to dangerous tailgating, or about one in five. That is more than middle aged drivers (15%) or older drivers (6%). And women admit to tailgating as much as men, especially in an SUV.

Remember when you rear end the vehicle ahead of you, the insurance companies will always consider you to be at fault, putting you in a difficult position to argue anything different.

Source article: http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/accidents/27-year-old-injured-after-crash-with-semi/1064530; http://www.smartmotorist.com/traffic-and-safety-guideline/maintain-a-safe-following-distance-the-3-second-rule.html