Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Highway 55 Tailgating Safety Project

Be safe - back offstop tailgating - keep minimun of 2 dots apart

One of the most common poor driving habits we encounter on our roads is inadequate following distance. In Wright County, nearly 80% of the crashes at intersections on Highway 55 are rear-end collisions. Most rear-end crashes are caused by driver inattention and following other vehicles too closely. Tailgating is very dangerous.

To avoid rear-end crashes, traffic safety experts recommend you leave at least a three-second following distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. When driving in snow, rain, or fog, you must increase your following distance to more than three-seconds.

A project designed to assist drivers in identifying safe following distances under “normal driving conditions” took place along Highway 55 in Wright County between Buffalo and Rockford. The project included “dots” painted on the road, and signs directing drivers to keep at least two dots between them and the car ahead of them, when ideal driving conditions exist. Additional space should be added when conditions are less than ideal. Results of the project are available in the Minnesota Tailgating Pilot Project Report and Summary 2006 (PDF).

Tips for determining a safe following distance

  • When the back-end of a vehicle ahead passes a stationary object such as a sign along the road, count how long it takes to pass the same object – “one - Minnesota, two - Minnesota, three - Minnesota…”
  • There should be a minimum 3 second count to pass the same object.
Image detailing how to determine a safe following distance

Tailgating publications

Project partners