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Avoiding rear-end collisions: 3 tips for motorists

You hate the idea that you or someone else could get hurt in a rear-end crash just because someone isn't paying attention. The reality is that these crashes happen all the time, especially in locations where traffic lights change suddenly or stop signs aren't obvious. When a vehicle has to slam on its brakes, it makes it much more likely that the next vehicle in line won't be able to stop in time to avoid a collision.

As a responsible driver, you want to make sure you don't end up in a crash, but what can you do? Here are a few tips to help you.

1. Don't get distracted

The first thing you should remember is that any distraction puts you and others at risk of injury. Put down your phone, avoid changing the radio station and don't eat behind the wheel. Keeping your eyes on the road and mind on what you're doing saves you trouble by preventing crashes.

2. Don't tailgate

The next thing you should avoid is tailgating. Tailgating is when you follow a vehicle in front of you very closely. People do this all the time. Sometimes, they do it because the vehicle in front of them isn't moving fast enough. Other times, they are moving slowly and end up close to the next vehicle's bumper.

A good system of measurement to use is to stay at least one vehicle's distance away from the vehicle in front of you for every 10 mph you're traveling. If the vehicle in front of you slams on its brakes at 50 mph, you'll have five car lengths to stop, giving you plenty of time to react.

Other people follow the "three-second rule" putting three seconds of distance between you and the next vehicle. This is great in dry weather and at lower speeds, but remember that you need more time in poor weather conditions and as your speed increases.

3. Don't slam on your brakes

Finally, don't slam on your brakes. If you hit your brakes, there's no guarantee that the vehicle behind you will be able to stop. If the driver can't stop, he or she will impact you and could cause you to suffer injuries or worse. In most cases, the person who rear-ends the other vehicle is to blame, but by slowing down and giving people a chance to stop, you can prevent the crash completely.

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