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How do I avoid getting rearended?

edited December 2011 in Distracted Driving
I had a Toyota 2008 Rav4. I bought it new 3 years ago. It was Red. I got rearended 3 times in that car. The first two times, I was stopped at a red light. The Third time, I was on the Interstate, slowing down because the traffic in front of me was slowing. I got hit from behind, knocked into the next left lane, got hit on the left side of the car, spun 180 degrees, got hit on the right side of the car, and came to a stop on the other side of the 5 lane north bound freeway. My car was totaled. Thankfully, I just had some bruises.
My question is: should I get a huge panel of lights on the back of my new car, or a large bank of reflector lights, or should I get a neon sign that says:"Back Off" ?


  • All daytime hits?
  • Unfortunately, nothing will help if the other drivers are not paying attention. About the only thing you can do is to make sure that your new car has good rear impact protection like Volvos and Saabs. American cars are getting better, but rear impact protection has long been neglected in the American car market.
  • I don't know if it is actually more effective than a standard bulb, but I know of some special flashing brake lights. Google hyperflash led for an example. When you step on the brake, the lights flash a few times then go solid.
  • I don't know what you do in terms of monitoring the basics on your car such as checking oil & other fluids & the like, but its a must to check out all of your lights frequently as well. Brake lights can have a couple of problems. One is that they can obviously go out. But another is that they can get stuck on from a bad brake light switch. I followed such a vehicle a couple of days ago. Either the brake lights were stuck on or the driver was riding the brakes (for miles & miles at 55mph). Do you brake frequently? Do you often keep a foot resting on the brake pedal? Do you even check your brake lights?

    I'd also say that I have avoided being rear-ended many times. I watch everything I can see on the road, both in front of me and behind me. I watch people behind me so that I can judge whether or not it looks like someone isn't paying attention or is going to fast. I also put out warnings anytime there is an unexpected slow down or stop. E.g. tapping the brakes a couple of times flashes your brake lights at the cars behind you. On interstates whenever I see a significant slow down I will momentarily turn my hazard lights on. (Note that I say "significant" slow down - something that looks like stopped traffic or near to it). I always try to leave myself a lot of room in front of me - so that I can use it to produce some sudden room behind me if someone is coming up too fast. I also always scope an escape route such as the shoulder of the road.

    So first I'd say to ask yourself about your own habits. Second I'd say to learn to drive expecting people to hit you. I do, and I frequently avoid getting hit.

  • NOTHING you can do to control the idiot behind you. The only question I have...did you suddenly cut in front of them and hit your brakes??? If so then that''s a problem...If not then I don't know what you can do...

  • Cigroller has summed up exactly what I was thinking and exactly what I do.
    While it is never possible to totally eliminate being rear-ended by distracted drivers and tailgaters, what Cigroller posted is your best defense.

    Does it work? Well, I have only been rear-ended once--circa 1978--and that was a low-speed incident that caused no damage to my Volvo, despite significant damage to the front of the Buick that hit me at about 10 mph.

    If you do everything that Cigroller has suggested, you will limit the chance of a repeat incident.
  • Well the OP has not come back to answer my question yet so I guess she wasn't really interested in an answer. Apparently she just wanted to vent.
  • It is a good question. I have only been hit from behind once and I've been driving 46 years averaging about 30K miles per year (I did the math, about 1.5 million miles).

    I really pay attention to having a "cushion" in front of me, or a space between me and the vehicle in front of me. I use the 2 second rule, and feel more comfortable with a 3 second space. If you don't know the rule it means you mark a spot on the road that the car in front of you just passed and count to 2 or 3 seconds; "one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand" and if your car rolls over the spot in the road before you finish 3 one thousand you are too close. In snow and ice you give more distance. When a jerk is sitting on my rear bumper at 70 mph I am very uncomfortable and I'll make sure I have my cushion in front so I don't have to stop quickly. If there is no cushion in heavy traffic, I'll slow down just a bit to create some more room in front. Without my cushion if brakes lights come on in front of me I'd have to hit my brakes and that can make the guy brake hard and a bad chain reaction can occur. The cushion is the key.
  • edited January 2012
    Uncle is exactly right. Maintaining a coushin all around you is extremely important. Tailgaters make it real hard. I slow down and prepare to stop real early so I have room in front to move into should I feel a rear ender coming up from behind.

    While driving, I will even pull over and wave a rear tail gater by.
    If all else fails, I first put my flashers a last resort, I put the right blinker on. Cars generally slow down from behind when the think you will turn and leave you a coushin cause they think you are crazy if you don't.
  • The first two were daytime, I was stopped at a light. The last was 6 pm but it was dark since it was December .
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