There are plenty of behaviors that can influence the likelihood of a traffic accident. Driving while tired is one well-known factor, as is distracted driving. North Carolina motorists should be aware that following another car is a risk factor, too. While this may be unexpected, research shows that people following a friend are more likely to take chances on the road.
Measuring risk on the roads
Researchers know that drivers following one another can be dangerous because they’ve studied it closely. Participants in simulated situations make safer choices while choosing a path of their own, or when they are following a navigation system. But when asked to follow a friend, their guard goes down.
If a driver is trying not to lose a friend on the road, it seems they are willing to do things they wouldn’t normally do to keep up. For example, they will run yellow lights, even if the car in front of them also ran the light. This means they can come dangerously close to running a red light and causing a collision at an intersection.
Social contagion is well understood when it comes to some behaviors, like fads in teenagers. It seems that the science of social contagion is also applicable in some contexts on the roads. This is a problem because it can lead to an increase in motor vehicle accidents.
Drivers should always take advantage of the tools that are available to them today. Instead of following someone who takes too many risks, they can rely on GPS type systems. If you have been injured in a collision where one driver was following another, you might want to consider discussing your case with an attorney.