Conference Proceeding

Assessing Drivers’ Tailgating Behavior and the Effect of Advisory Signs in 
Mitigating Tailgating

  • Jyh-Hone Wang (University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI)
  • Miao Song (University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI)


A human factors study was carried out to assess drivers' tailgating behavior and the effect of advisory signs in mitigating tailgating. Tailgating is a dangerous driving behavior and a leading cause of most rear-end crashes. Through a prior study, serious tailgating was identified on urban Rhode Island highways. It is critical to many urban traffic management authorities to understand tailgating and to explore means to mitigate drivers’ tailgating behavior, especially on urban highways with high-speed and high-volume traffic. Properly designed advisory signs could reduce tailgating and related motor crashes. To assess drivers' behavior with regards to tailgating, a questionnaire survey was developed and given to a number of subjects with daily highway driving experience. The survey is designed to identify causes of tailgating and drivers’ perceptions and engagements on tailgating behavior. Drivers' driving behaviors were further assessed through driving simulation under different traffic conditions. To help mitigate tailgating behavior, advisory signs and an educational video were developed. The effectiveness of these proposed countertailgating measures was assessed in the driving simulation. Subjects’ real driving behaviors were further studied in a follow-up field study. Study results found that the majority had an incorrect sense regarding safe following distance and were tailgating while driving on highways. Heavy traffic was identified as the top tailgating cause. The simulation results confirmed the tailgating phenomenon observed on urban Rhode Island highways. The proposed advisory signs were found effective in mitigating tailgating behavior.

How to Cite:

Wang, J. & Song, M., (2011) “Assessing Drivers’ Tailgating Behavior and the Effect of Advisory Signs in 
Mitigating Tailgating”, Driving Assessment Conference 6(2011), 583-589. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2011 the author(s)

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Published on
30 Jun 2011
Peer Reviewed