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How close does a car have to be to be 'tailgating'?

Having someone tailgate you is dangerous and unnerving. When that car is right on your back bumper, you're all too aware that, if you have to stop quickly, they're probably going to hit you.

People tailgate for all manner of reasons. Some of them do it intentionally, trying to pass. Others do it when they're angry with the way you're driving, and it can turn into road rage. Some drivers do it because they just have no idea how far back they're supposed to stay, so they unintentionally put you both in danger.

But how can you know if they're too close? The key is to look for anyone who gets closer than three seconds behind you. At 55 miles per hour, that's the general distance you must have between two cars to ensure that the second car can stop in time. Drivers are encouraged to pick stationary objects along the road and count off seconds to make sure they're far enough back.

Naturally, you may not have the time or ability to do this with a car behind you. All you can do is worry about how close you are to the next vehicle. If you do feel like someone is tailgating you and they won't stop, though, it's wise to simply pull over and let them pass. Don't take the risk of driving in front of someone who is that reckless.

If you do get into an accident when another driver slams into the back of your car, you could find yourself facing serious medical bills, and you need to know how to seek financial compensation.

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