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West Richland Police are cracking down on tailgaters

West Richland Police is cracking down on tailgaters

WEST RICHLAND, Wash. -- West Richland Police found that following too closely on the road led to a lot of crashes in 2017, and they want this year to be better.

With a few colorful markers and a big whiteboard, Sergeant Terry Boehmler was in the zone as he calculated how far a car will travel before it can come to a stop.

“You have to have heads up,” Boehmler said. “Because the physical dynamics of everything just do not work in our favor. Cars can only stop so fast, we can only react so fast.”

Boehmler said tailgating is a problem that's only getting worse in West Richland.

“Van Giesen, the 240 is just absolutely scary to watch,” he said.

“I think it happens more often than I would like,” Terry Frye said.

And the math shows reacting to a sudden stop takes time and distance.

“430 feet,” Boehmler said. “That is how far you will travel before your car even starts reacting to steering input gas input brake input. How far into that guys trunk are you? Really far.”

Just recognizing the need to stop and deciding what to do takes on average three seconds.

The law states a driver should not follow another more closely than is reasonable.

“Winter seems to be more of a problem and because it gets darker sooner,” Frye said. “It's just harder to see at night, and with someone right on your tail, that's difficult too.”

West Richland police said they're going to be targeting drivers that are following too close.

“Buy yourself time because out there, there isn't. There just isn't,” he said. “You follow too close, you just can't physically react fast enough to make your car stop in these short distances here.”

Police said if someone is tailgating you, try to be patient and move into the right lane to avoid any road rage. You can also call the police and tell them the drivers license number.

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