A study out of MIT shows that drivers who tailgate are actually causing traffic delays and lengthening commutes during peak hours. Traffic Engineer Laurence Lambert of Vectura Consulting says the closer you drive, the more erratic your reactions become.
"What happens is that people have perception reaction times, so the closer they are to a vehicle, the harder they're going to hit their breaks," said Lambert.
The study modeled traffic during peak hours to determine the effects of various driving decisions and determined that aggressive driving does not get you home faster. Lambert says the study shows that tailgating actually causes previously non-existent traffic jams.
"There's really nothing there," said Lambert.
Lambert says that new technology has potential to alleviate the problem.
"Adaptive cruise control, so that they are set to the parameters in the study," said Lambert.
Researchers suggest the best course of action is to maintain an equal distance from both the car in front of you and the car behind you.