If you have driven a car in the city of Chicago, chances are you know what it’s like to be tailgated. We all know that image of the car in your rear-view mirror following much too closely is very annoying — after all, you can’t make traffic go any faster! Unfortunately however, this practice is not just annoying, but also very dangerous. Failing to keep a proper following distance has the potential to result in damage to both cars and serious injuries to those inside. In fact, the Illinois Department of Transportation reported that out of all the car crashes that resulted in injury in 2017, rear-end collisions were the most common.
Rear-end collisions are dangerous and largely avoidable. Here is a summary of what we think everyone should know about them.
The best thing you can do when being tailgated is to stop an accident before it happens. Some ways you can do that include:
- Allow the aggressive driver to pass you by pulling over or changing lanes as soon as it is safe to do so.
- When coming to a stop, brake very gradually.
- Do not drive at an unsafe speed, even if the driver behind you is pressuring you to do so.
It is also highly important that you maintain your own following distance. This is something even the most level-headed driver must be conscious of whenever they are on the road. Stick to the FMCSA’s recommendation of one second of following distance per ten feet of vehicle when driving below 40 miles per hour. If in doubt, keep a minimum of three seconds’ distance between yourself and the car in front of you at all times. However, adverse driving conditions such as bad weather make even more caution necessary. Remember to stay calm and err on the side of safety.
One of the most common injuries to result from rear-end traffic collisions is whiplash. This is described by the Mayo Clinic as “a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.” Whiplash tends to be incredibly painful and often incurs steep medical bills for the victim. The most common symptoms are fatigue, dizziness, and pain or loss of feeling in the head, neck, shoulders, arms, and back. This often requires physical therapy to resolve. It is not uncommon for people suffering from whiplash to begin experiencing symptoms between six and forty-eight hours after the incident.
Rear-end collision injuries also commonly include concussion, soft tissue damage, brain injury, and broken bones, as well as property damage and the possibility of emotional trauma.
What to do if you’ve been injured in a rear-end collision
If you are injured in a rear-end traffic accident, it is important to do the following:
- Seek necessary medical attention immediately.
- Report the accident to the police.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with any other drivers involved in the crash.
- Document your injuries and the damage to your vehicle by retaining all of your medical and repair records.
- Contact your insurance company and a qualified attorney
- Do not speak with the other driver’s insurance company or give them a statement before speaking with an attorney.
If you have been injured in a rear-end collision, you may be legally entitled to compensation. Reach out to us at siglaw.com or at (312) 258-8188 for a free consultation.