Q I couldn't help but to chuckle a bit reading Sonia Venkatachalam's story about being rear-ended three times in 11 years. I don't mean to make light of her situation and I sympathize with her. But my experiences top that in the most ridiculous ways.

I've been rear-ended four times in the past decade, all on Highway 85 during heavy traffic. Three happened when I was at a standstill due to traffic. I'm sure there are no tips that can help me avoid those incidents.

Alan Szeto

San Jose

Aftermath of rear-end collision.
Aftermath of rear-end collision. (Bay Area News Group)

A Sonia recently wrote that every rear-end collision "has been the same story -- car in front of me brakes hard and stops suddenly. I slam on my brakes and car behind me hits me. While I have been given the clean chit from insurance all the time, I can't help wonder if there is something about my driving that is causing this. Any tips for me?"

Oh, my, yes, from more than 70 readers.

Q Besides giving herself more space from the car in front, Sonia also needs to be watching the brake lights of the car ahead of the car directly in front of her. Once you see the second car up starting to slow down, I typically tap my brakes a few times as a warning to the car behind me.

Brad Sunshine, Rob Cordell, Don Allison and more

A This is the same advice the CHP gives as well as my expert -- Mrs. Roadshow.

Q Simple common sense: Slow down. Every morning 85 is a parking lot, and people drive as if the car in front is still moving. How about expecting the slowdown, and drive prepared for it? The car in front is going nowhere.

Robin Gunn

A These days that is so true.

Q Being from the East Coast, where there is a lot of stop-and-go traffic, I suggest extending the distance between the car in front of you using the old axiom of one car length per 10 mph.

Lawrence Coulthurst

 

A And ...

Q Sonia, stop driving? LOL! In all seriousness, I always keep in mind that not everybody knows how to drive and I compensate with my driving. I give good spacing in front, and if I have someone tailgating I usually slow down. That way they have to slow, too. When they do, I go back up on speed. It may take several times to get it through their heads but it usually works.

Melissa Dooley

A And ...

Q The only problem with leaving 2-3 car spaces is that some jerk will ALWAYS cut in front of you!

Nancy Fong

A Only Nancy used another word instead of jerk.

Q The other obvious answer is to keep your eyes on the road and not on your phone!

Jamie Kotsubo

San Jose

A That can be a problem here.

Q My years of being a bus driver taught me a very important lesson. Always drive defensively. Drive like every car around you is a potential accident because there are some very poor drivers out there.

Peggy Padelt

A Yes, indeed there are.

Look for Gary at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335. Follow Mr. Roadshow at Twitter.com/mrroadshow.