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How to avoid a rear-end collision

MILWAUKEE — Rear-end crashes are the most common type of crash in Wisconsin and the nation, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Most rear-end collisions result in minor damage, but some can cause injury or even be fatal.

The law states Wisconsin“The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more than is reasonable and prudent, taking into account the speed of such vehicle and the traffic on and condition of the highway.”

This means that you should give enough space so that, if the driver in front of you suddenly stops, you have enough time to stop too.

But how much space is needed? The Wisconsin Motorist Handbook (August 2021, p. 64) states: “Collisions from the rear are very common. They are caused by drivers following too closely (tailgating) to stop before hitting the vehicle in front when it suddenly slows or stops. Professionals believe that the safe distance should not be less than four seconds under ideal conditions”.

However, extra distance should be given if you are following behind a motorcycle or bicycle, if you are traveling at night, if it is raining, snowing, ice, visibility is difficult or if you are towing a heavy load or trailer.

But what can you do if you’re the one who’s locked out? WISDOT suggests: “If you’re in the rear and the road has a right lane, move to the right and let the rear lane pass. If there’s no right lane, you can wait until the road ahead clears and it’s legal to pass, then slowly reduce your speed to prompted the tailgate to pass you by.”

According to the Milwaukee Police Department, this type of accident is avoidable, and violation charges are usually issued when roads are slippery due to rain, ice or snow.

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