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Is tailgating in traffic against the law in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

It can be a very nerve-wracking experience to look in the rearview mirror and see another vehicle coming very close. Tailgating occurs when someone drives very closely to another vehicle. Sometimes, tailgating is merely an annoyance or distraction. It may make the person in the front vehicle anxious about the possibility of a crash. Other times, tailgating actually causes a collision when the driver in the rear vehicle is unable to stop in time.

Someone who has been involved in a crash caused by tailgating may have a lot of questions, including whether they can hold the other driver accountable for the collision. Is tailgating a traffic violation that would lead to a police officer issuing a ticket to someone, or is it nearly an annoying traffic habit?

Tailgating is a traffic offense in Illinois

The traffic statutes in Illinois impose numerous restrictions on those operating motor vehicles. The law specifies numerous actions that are necessary for safety and legal compliance. Those rules include adhering to local speed limits, using signals to indicate an upcoming turn and leaving an adequate following distance between vehicles.

Depending on the size of a vehicle and the weather conditions, the optimal following distance can be drastically different. In general, it is usually advisable to maintain a three-second following distance in normal traffic conditions when driving a standard passenger vehicle.

Wet or icy streets or hard-to-manage commercial vehicles might necessitate an increase in the following distance that someone maintains. Police officers can issue a ticket and declare someone at fault for a crash if they did not maintain an appropriate following distance but instead tailgated the driver in front of them.

Officers can also take action when the tailgating was part of a road rage incident. Illinois has a law about drivers who become unnecessarily aggressive or threatening toward others in traffic. Motorists involved in collisions caused by tailgaters usually need to relay the details of their interactions with the driver to the police officer investigating the collision.

The more information that a police officer has about what transpired, the easier it will be for them to reach an appropriate conclusion about what caused the wreck. Ultimately, refreshing one’s knowledge about traffic laws may help people avoid collisions or pursue justice after an Illinois crash.