The Dangers of Tailgating

Most collisions can be prevented. While there are many examples that could lead to a vehicular collision such as failing to signal or not being allowed to merge, latest statistics from Alberta Transportation show that in 2015, 3,467 casualty collisions were due to following too close (tailgating).

If drivers took the high road and made a conscious effort to change their driver behaviour and keep a safe distance between them and the vehicle in front of them, there would be a lot less collisions.

Tips On How To Keep Your Distance

  • Keep a minimum one-car length when stopping in urban traffic (this leaves you an ‘out’).
  • Stay out of other drivers’ blind spots.
  • Keep a minimum three-second following distance* in a 50km/h zone between you and the vehicle in front. If someone pulls in front of you, you will need to set up your three-second following distance again.
  • Increase the three-second rule when driving in bad weather or at highway speeds. Drivers of large commercial vehicles should have a following distance of at least four seconds.

*Three-second rule: Look at the vehicle in front of you. When the back of that vehicle passes a fixed object like a sign, a tree or a road marking, start counting. Count one-thousand-and-one, one-thousand-and-two, one-thousand-and-three. If the front of your vehicle reaches the object before you have finished counting, then you are following too close.

Ready to take our Quiz? We recommend that you read about protecting yourself from tailgaters and our tips for safe driving so you’ll be better prepared to pass the quiz or, you can take the quiz now.


I am a Fleet Safety Operations Manager with 30 years of experience teaching traffic safety across five provinces, and in four countries. Outside of work, I am an avid traveller, a fervent Flames fan, and a Mustang enthusiast.