Tailgating is something we have all experienced. The tailgating driver acts in reckless disregard for the safety of those in front of them. Some people tailgate because they like to drive fast, have an unrealistic view of their braking ability, are generally reckless, or actually like to push traffic, believing that if the come up hard on the car in front of them, that car will pull over and let them pass. You see this type on the freeway in rush hour traffic and its incredible to see these aggressive folks who think that if they push enough, the hundreds or thousands of cars in front of them will somehow move and open the road for them. Might be some narcissism involved as well. In any event, the law says tailgating is illegal and dangerous. Here is Wisconsin Civil Jury Instruction covering tailgating:


The driver of a motor vehicle should not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent. In determining whether a driver was following the vehicle ahead more closely than was reasonable and prudent, you should consider the speed and location of both vehicles, the amount of traffic, the condition of the highway, and the visibility at the time.

This Wisconsin DOT Rules of the Road Handbook states:

Space Ahead

Rear-end crashes are very common. They are caused by drivers following too closely (tailgating) to be able to stop before hitting the vehicle ahead when it suddenly slows or stops. Professionals believe a safe following distance should be no less than four seconds under ideal conditions. Here is an easy way to find out if you are following too closely.

Following-distance rule: Watch for when the rear of the vehicle ahead passes a sign, tree or any other stationary point. Consider it to be your “mark.” Count the seconds it takes you to reach the same mark.(“One-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand-three, one-thousand-four.”)  You are following too closely if you pass the mark before you finish counting. If so, drop back and then count again at another mark to check the new following distance. Repeat until you are following no closer than the minimum recommended following distance.

A minimum four second following distance is recommended under ideal driving conditions. However, there a situations, where you may need more distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front to be safe, such as slippery roadways, limited vision due to darkness or fog, heavy traffic, and other circumstances.

McCormick Law Office attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin get the best settlements in tailgating cases where top-rated experts provide reports support our theory of the case. This is called lawyering, it’s what we do.