One person’s daily experiences. [fimg=right]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/Tailgating_on_I-91.jpg[/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Dec. 16, 2011 A single unit Class B truck and a School Van tailgating at 65 + mph on I-91 southbound, south of Hartford, CT. Both were called in. Tailgating is one of the leading causes of accidents in the United States contributing to more than one third of collisions on American roadways with large commercial trucks following too closely contributing to some of the most horrific accidents. A tractor-trailer traveling at 60 mph takes well over a football field to stop. Adding in perception and reaction time, 450 feet is a good “best-case” scenario in dry weather. While a car can safely use a two second following distance in dry weather, large commercial trucks or tractor trailer needs at least 4 seconds of following distance to stop while traveling at the same speed. On a rain soaked highway, braking distance more than doubles and following times should be increased accordingly. One of our members drives a tractor trailer for a living and is the first to recognize that a safe following distance is more than just important, it is mandatory. Unfortunately many commercial big rig and light duty vehicle drivers along with the vast majority of light duty vehicle owners on the road today do not know or care. Many drivers observed are simply following far too closely with a one second or less distance between them and the morgue. This is absolutely the bare minimum amount of time needed to react to a “situation” on the road ahead. Even worse, some drivers observed are following at as little as one tenth of a second even in the worst conditions. Sadly in our driver’s experience, one half of a second or 40-50 feet is commonplace and as we all know, this is a disaster waiting to happen. Trucking company dispatchers and safety personnel cannot see the roads ahead of their drivers from their offices so some citizens have taken it upon themselves to phone in tailgaters to the offender’s respective company. Many companies have their phone number clearly displayed on the cab or trailer or “How’s my driving” sticker located on the rear of the trailer with phone number in clear view. There are cases where only the company name is visible and a smartphone can then be “voice-googled” with a number to call within 15 seconds. Most companies seem to take the call seriously and presumably take action to correct the problem as quickly as possible. When he calls in an offender, it is made crystal clear that his goal is to simply correct the bad habits of the offending driver and make the roads safer for all, not to punish the driver. Occasionally, our driver receives a call back from the dispatch office with a thank you. A Case Study – The Good One case clearly stands out in which a tractor trailer driver was viciously tailgating our drivers vehicle in the middle lane of I-90 west in MA. By CB, he politely requested that the big rig driver back off a few seconds since traffic ahead was already spaced correctly with 2 to 3 second following distances directly ahead. The big rig driver backed off at once and apologized for the encroachment. A Case Study – The Far More Common Bad Unfortunately there are far more instances when the drivers being contacted are downright belligerent. A recent example was on I-95 north in MA. Our driver was in his car accelerating out of a construction zone in the middle lane in heavy traffic. A big rig behind him was following at less than a second and he asked that the driver increase his following distance a few seconds. The big rig driver rudely told him to either speed up (all lanes were filled with heavy traffic and there was no open lane to move into) or get the “f*** out of the way”. Our driver gave this aggressive driver another chance to stop tailgating with a friendly radio call and was replied to with more of the same. He was immediately reported to the company. In this case, Central Maine Transport. The Road Ahead Beginning last summer, our driver took it up a notch in preps for a real world expose of sorts. With smartphone in hand, he is now snapping photos of unsafe driving practices so the companies and you can see firsthand what he sees on the road ahead. It Works! In some instances after a reporting call, our driver has witnessed said offending drivers slow down, increase his or her following distances or stop erratic lane changing within seconds after hanging up. It is by no means just Big Rigs A car tailgating a school bus on I-95 S after the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey. All drivers whether they are driving an 80,000 pound big rig or a 2,500 pound fuel miser need to understand that following too closely saves no time yet can cost them not only their job or livelihood but also their life! While tailgating is usually unintentional, many times it occurs because of distracted driving including texting or talking on a cell phone. Some of which we are all guilty of including smartphone use but if handled with voice activated care, most rear end collisions could be prevented simply my allowing more following distance. The following pics and even videos are meant to show exactly how dangerous the roads ahead are today and with a little forethought; maybe this practice will be a thing of the past making the roads a safer place for all. Asking for Trouble A CEVA trailered rig on I-95 Southbound near New Rochelle, NY at 55 to 60 mph. I will periodically update the thread with new pics and new locations including the possible good outcomes after a report if one was made.