If the person that hits you from behind is really important and has a lot of 'influence,' in some countries, you could find that it is your fault. But, as far as I know, the USA is not one of those countries. If someone slams into you from behind and, despite heavily stomping on the brakes, still manages to shunt you into the car in front, none of the resultant damage is your fault. And the best thing of all is that the skyrocketing insurance premium is someone else's problem.
What if I was reversing at the time, you may ask? In that case, a lawyer would be advisable. But in most normal situations, if you get hit from behind, the driver of the car that hit you is at fault.
Sensible drivers avoid this type of accident by always travelling a safe distance behind the car in front. It is not as difficult to judge that safe distance as you might think as long as you remember to adjust the distance depending on the driving conditions. Most experts suggest that it is necessary to make sure you are at least two seconds behind the car in front.
How can you work this out? As the car in front passes a fixed point you start counting - one one thousand, two one thousand and so on until you reach that point. Simple! Realistically, we all get distracted at times and look at something other than the road, so it is best to maintain a distance of three seconds in normal conditions to be on the safe side. Therefore, consider counting to three one thousand.
In wet conditions, your car is not necessarily going to stop when you tell it to. Aquaplaning puts you at risk of plowing into the car in front, so keep a four second space between you and that leading car and raise that to five seconds at least in icy conditions.
So, when deciding what the safe distance between you and the car in front is rain, icy and fog are to be factored in. But there is one more essential factor, and that is the speed you are travelling at. The faster you are going the more space you need to slow down.
The two second rule is a good start if you want to avoid unpleasant insurance premium increases by learning to judge safe distances accurately. In no time you will not even need to count.
But, how can you deal with aggressive drivers who barge up behind you flicking their lights? And then there are those horrors travelling at the speed of sound that suddenly tailgate you so closely that you can see nose hairs in need of trimming. They haven't heard of the two second rule and, rest assured, they do not want to hear it from you.
When in doubt, chicken out. It is galling, but there is no point in standing in front of a charging elephant. The worst thing you can do, worse than getting stubborn and standing your ground, is to take fright and leap sideways without checking that the road is clear. Tailgaters cause fatal accidents when people react out of fear.
Faced, well not faced, harassed by a tailgater, calmly put your indicator on and move out of the way. Yes, if the driver behind hits you, it will not be your fault, but you might not live to gloat. Your auto insurance premium is important, but so is safety on the road.