On August 5th,  in Missouri, on Interstate Highway 44, two persons lost their lives and around 50 others were injured, following a collision involving four vehicles.  A truck tractor (with no trailer) was stopped because of traffic congestion in a highway work zone.  First, a 19-year old young man ran his pickup into the truck.  Then, a school bus carrying students completely ran over the pickup, and landed on top of the truck.  Next, a second bus loaded with students from the same group ran into the first bus.  One student was killed, along with the 19-year old driver of the pickup.  Around fifty persons were treated and released from area hospitals; however, two students remain hospitalized, one in serious condition. 

Missouri Highway Patrol officers surmise that the accident was caused by driver inattention and following too closely, judging by the accident scene.  A National Transportation Safety Board team of 14 persons will be investigating the cause of the wreck, which may take months to clear up. 

It’s never a good idea to follow a big truck too closely, whether in a work zone, or regular highway conditions.  Truck drivers have certain “no zone/blind spots” that don’t allow them to see that another vehicle is right behind them.  It also takes a big rig longer to come to a stop.  Wrecks are common in work zone areas.  According to the Federal Highway Administration, 720 persons died in work zones across the United States in 2008.  It’s hard to maneuver around barrels in work zones, especially if you are driving too fast, or distracted.  There are workers present in many of those areas, who will appreciate your showing them that you respect their safety.

It’s never a good idea to follow anyone too closely! Another top cause of most crashes  is when someone is literally riding on the tail of the car in front of them.  This angers the driver in front, who taps on their brakes to get the tailgater to back off.  This is a dangerous move that can cause the driver behind to lose control and slam into the front car’s back bumper. 

Timing Rules Used To Avoid Car Accidents Caused By Tailgating:

When you are driving a car, it can be hard for you to determine the distance between you and the car in front of you, so  remember these three rules:

1.  Two Second Rule

If you are on a dry and clear road, it is recommend that you count two seconds to safely gauge the distance between you and the car in front of you.  When the car in front of you drives past a sign, you should reach the count of two before you pass the sign.

2.  Four Second Rule

In wet and rainy conditions, you should allow a four second safety gap between yourself and the car in front of you.  Bad weather can cause decreased tire traction, slips and skids.

3.  Ten Second Rule

In icy and snowy conditions, and roads are most dangerous, allow this rule.  It may seem like too much time needed in order to determine distance, but every winter car accident statistics go up because motorists feel they can ignore this rule.  It’s much harder to control or stop your vehicle on these roads.

Another thought is to observe the speed limit, and allow 10’ of distance for every 10 m.p.h. that you are driving.  If you are going 60, allow 60’ between you and car ahead of you.  This is difficult to do on a busy freeway, but it is possible to do it on a regular highway.  

  Slow down, and back off.  You are all going the same direction, and you will get there safer if you give everyone their fair share of the road.  If you cause an accident and take a life, it will change things forever.  You can’t take it back.  Think about the responsibility you have to be a safe driver each time you get behind the wheel.