State Patrol Law Of The Month
Tailgating parties may be a great way to meet people in a stadium parking lot, but tailgating on a street or highway certainly won’t win you any friends.
“Tailgating, also known as following too closely, is not a harmless way for inpatient drivers to vent frustration with slower vehicles. It causes countless collisions—from fender benders to violent crashes—and may even trigger road rage incidents,” says Wisconsin State Patrol Lieutenant Tony Burrell of the Fond du Lac Post.
According to state law, drivers “shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent” based on the speed of the vehicle, road conditions, and traffic. There were nearly 5,500 convictions for following another vehicle too closely in Wisconsin last year.
A violation of the law costs $200.50 along with three demerit points assessed on a driver’s license. In addition, car insurance premiums often skyrocket for drivers who hit another vehicle while following too closely.
“To avoid rear-end crashes, drivers should be patient, slow down and maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead of them, especially when approaching intersections or changing lanes,” Lieutenant Burrell says. “They also should anticipate situations that might cause other drivers to slow down or stop suddenly, like heavy traffic in work zones. A fine for following too closely in a work zone is double the normal amount. It’s also smart to buckle your safety belt in case your vehicle is hit by a tailgater.”