Tailgating in Richmond

Car In Rear View MirrorThe following article is a study of tailgating from a 26-second video of Highway 91 submitted by a North Cowichan resident who visits Richmond often to get treatment for the brain injury he suffered after being rear-ended.

If you go by the Two-Second Rule, 79% of drivers were tailgating. And 26% were recklessly tailgating with less than one second separation. In this video, one driver is only 1.5 car lengths behind.

It is also interesting that 64% of drivers were in the fast lane. The Keep Right Except To Pass rule didn't seem be to be obeyed.

A Translink bus driver once told me that if there was a tailgating ticket for every speeding ticket there would be fewer traffic collisions. Indeed, airplanes don’t slow down to solve collisions, they increase separation.

Having taught the physics of collisions in my Physics 11 classes, I decided to collect some evidence. I chose the No. 7 Rd overpass over Highway 91, the East-West Connector in Richmond. It is flat and there are no curves in the highway nearby. No rain. No sun in the eyes. Not quite rush hour. October 25, 2018. 15:39. Only 26 seconds of video.

I believe the recommendation in BC is the “two-second rule”.

But the US National Safety Council and the UK recommend the “three-second rule”. This article says that it takes the average driver 2.3 seconds to start braking.

The following data is based on the video above:

Some people might think 2.0 seconds to be too long, so let’s consider a time of only 1.5 seconds to be reasonable. Yet still over half, 59%, were tailgating and 26% of drivers are tailgating at less than 1.0 seconds.

This is a common daily occurrence. Why can’t police pull them over? Wouldn't be easy to set up a video camera on an overpass.

All it takes is to set an example to send a message over News730 Radio.

 

TAILGATING <3.0SEC

TOTAL CARS

%

 

FAST EASTBOUND

16

17

94%

 

SLOW EASTBOUND

7

10

70%

 

FAST WESTBOUND

20

20

100%

 

SLOW WESTBOUND

8

11

73%

88%

 

TAILGATING <2.0SEC

TOTAL CARS

%

 

FAST EASTBOUND

16

17

94%

 

SLOW EASTBOUND

4

10

40%

 

FAST WESTBOUND

19

20

95%

 

SLOW WESTBOUND

7

11

64%

79%

 

TAILGATING <1.5SEC

TOTAL CARS

%

 

FAST EASTBOUND

10

17

59%

 

SLOW EASTBOUND

2

10

20%

 

FAST WESTBOUND

17

20

85%

 

SLOW WESTBOUND

5

11

45%

59%

 

TAILGATING <1.0SEC

TOTAL CARS

%

 

FAST EASTBOUND

6

17

35%

 

SLOW EASTBOUND

1

10

10%

 

FAST WESTBOUND

7

20

35%

 

SLOW WESTBOUND

1

11

9%

26%

For a driver, traffic separation is easier than keeping an eye on the speed limit. You just need to count “One, one-thousand, Two, one-thousand, Three, one-thousand.”

If enforcing tailgating laws saves a few people like me from getting seriously hurt, it’s worth it. It’s not complicated for drivers. And drivers paying attention to easy laws may just get them to take other laws more seriously too. Sight lines are improved too.

With regard to which is worse, the bulldozer or the left lane hog, I agree with you. The bulldozer not only wants to speed, he’s often tailgating dangerously, and he’s trying to get the driver in front to also break the law, assuming that he needs to make a left turn from the highway (like in front of North Cowichan city hall). The latter is the worst offence to me.

On a two-lane road, there is little one can do when being tailgated at or over the speed limit. People say pull over but sometimes that is more dangerous. I was told to do that on a dark residential road in a case of road rage. Had I done that I would have run over a woman walking her dog, both dark in the shadows of a tree. Indeed, I heard that had happened farther down the street four years ago. So the lesser evil was to risk being rear-ended in my opinion.

I have proposed that the driver in front turn on his four-way flashers as a “Notice of Liability”. If the tailgater subsequently causes an crash, I would like to see that traffic offence upgraded to a criminal act like assault. Notice was given, but not heeded. Dual camera dashcams could provide evidence. I have one now.

 

Comments

Yes to four-way flashers!

About six months ago I started flipping on my four-ways whenever being tailgated at the speed limit on single-lane roads. As soon as the tailgater backs off, I turn them off. It's remarkably effective!

Author of "Letters to a Driving Nation: Exploring the Conflict between Drivers and Cyclists." www.brucebutler.ca

Tailgating

This goes on everywhere. I have a 36 foot motor home and find I can never go fast enough for the commercial guys so try to stay out of their way.  Yet in my daily driver the younger women seem to be most aggressive including young mom's. I just drive the speed limit and let them figure it out. As to your physics 11 class I do not believe many of these younger drivers have taken it nor understand it if they have.

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