A surprising number of accidents in the Empire State are caused by this careless but dangerous habit behind the wheel.

New York drivers don't have the best reputation because of the ongoing stereotype that they're ultra aggressive and cavalier behind the wheel. However, that title couldn't be farther from the truth.

Credit Karma found New York is actually one of the safest states for motorists. In a ranking of all 50 states, New York was found to have the fewest amount of car accident fatalities and fatal crashes per capita.

Read More: How Much of a Threat Are New York's Teen Drivers?

The Empire State also has the 6th lowest occurence of driving fatalities caused by alcohol-impaired drivers.

While drivers here are, at least statistically, less likely to die should they become involved in a vehicular accident, a new survey has found Empire Staters have a long way to go when correcting this bad habit from behind the wheel. Unfortunately, this behavior increases one's odds of causing a crash.

Reckless Driving

Senior man hand detail while driving a car. Soft focus. Vintage tone.

Let me paint the picture for you: You're driving the speed limit down a straight, dimly lit road when some jerk roars up behind you and seems to think you're driving too slow. That driver then continues creeping closer and closer to your bumper, as if trying to pressure you to step on the gas.

And while you find yourself staring into your rear-view mirror and wondering what that driver's problem is, a deer bounds in front of your car. You instinctively slam on the brakes and... well, the car behind you kisses your bumper.

Turns out that theoretical scene is all-too-common here in the Empire State.

Lacy Katzen LLP looked into the types of car accidents that occur the most frequently in New York and found the majority of them are rear-end collisions. The lawyers noted the lion's share of these accidents are caused by tailgating.

Read More: Americans Say New York Drivers Are Among Worst in Nation

When a car follows too closely to the vehicle in front of it, it slashes its ability to remain unscathed in the event of sudden de-acceleration or braking. Cars need over 100 feet to come to a complete stop in the event of a sudden braking event, and that is why motorists are strongly encouraged to follow the three-second rule.

The practice allows those driving behind a vehicle enough time to recognize what is happening in front of them and act accordingly.

True, no one likes following that rule on the highway because some idiot will take that space you've put between yourself and the car in front of you as free real estate. But safety experts say being annoyed by a bad driver is a lot better than kissing the front end of your car goodbye.

Why Rear-End Collisions Are Dangerous

Car crash in urban street with black car
Photo Credit - kadmy/Thinkstock

According to Lacy Katzen LLP, following a car too closely can wreak havoc not only on one's car should there be an accident, but the habit greatly increases the change of injury and death.

Importantly, even a low-speed rear-end collision can cause serious injury because of the way the body moves upon impact. When a vehicle is struck from behind, the body is affected in three phases. First, it is thrown backward toward the seat. Then, due to the deceleration of the vehicle, the body is thrown forward. Finally, the forward-moving occupant is caught by the seatbelt. Depending on impact speed, each of these movements can be violent and each can cause serious neck or back injuries.

According to New York State's Department of Health, the Empire State reports over 1,000 deaths caused by unintentional motor vehicle-related injuries. That means traffic-related injuries are the leading cause of injury-related death in the state.

Additionally, the state recorded over 12,000 hospitalizations stemming from car crashes every year, in addition to nearly 137,000 emergency department visits.

Don't Tailgate

Car Makes With the Most DUIs

If you find yourself among the guilty residents who tend to drive a little too close to the car in front of you, you might want to reconsider how effective that behavior is when you're literally putting your neck on the line.

Plus, I will fully admit when someone aggressively tailgates me, I tend to slow down because I am a Capricorn/Aquarius cusp or something. Actually, I'm the type of person who refuses to reward bad behavior. If the person behind me really wants to fly down the road like a witch on their broomstick, then they can pass me on the left side when it's safe to do so.

Read More: Which Upstate New York Highway Is Among America's Most Feared?

Also, newer cars are helping to cut down on bad driving habits by putting sensors in the front of the vehicle. I have a 2021 Mazda CX-5 and it tells me when I am following another vehicle at an unsafe distance. It has actually helped when traffic suddenly stops or slows down on the highway - which is something that happens A LOT on Connecticut roadways thanks to the rogue road construction workers that are practically everywhere because our highways are always under repair... but that's a rant for another time.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I appreciate such safety features. I'm sure others do, too, especially when the car in front of them suddenly brakes because a dumb deer decides to tempt death.

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