Car Accidents from Following Too Closely

Intentionally driving too close to the front car, or tail gating, is a form of aggressive behavior or road rage. These drivers can end up with a traffic citation or a negligence verdict in a personal injury lawsuit.

Florida Law

Florida courts follow a rear-end collision rule where a driver is legally negligent for following another car and then crashing into it. The front driver does not have to prove that the other motorist committed an unsafe act which caused the accident or why that driver crashed into the front car.

The defendant driver may offer evidence showing that front motorist was negligent and was also at fault by, for example, making a sudden lane change or stop.

Florida’s traffic law also imposes noncriminal moving violation penalties for driving too closely. A driver cannot follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent considering the speed of other vehicles and traffic conditions. Drivers on roads that are not within a business or residential district must allow sufficient space between the vehicle in front of it so that other vehicles may enter and safely drive into that space. Other laws govern vehicles that are towing.

Following to Close is Dangerous

One-third of all accidents reported by the police in this country in 2012 were caused by a rear-end collision as the first harmful event according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Drivers of sportscars and SUVS tailgate twice as much as family and economy-class cars.

Florida was rated as the third least dangerous tailgating states according to SmartMotorist.com. However, a recent report also rated Florida as having the most distracted drivers by talking on the telephone while driving. This is blamed as a major factor in rear-end collisions.

These accidents can lead to serious injuries, especially cervical and lumbar spine injuries and whiplash. A rear-end collision can even lead to such severe injuries as traumatic brain injury and even death.

Keeping a Safe Distance

If someone is following too closely, the front driver should move to another lane or turn off the road as soon as possible. The vehicle in the back should be allowed to pass.

Vehicles in the rear should follow the “3-second rule” by keeping a 3-second period between the rear and front cars. This time should be doubled during heavy traffic, night, or less than ideal weather such as a light rain, fog or snow. In bad weather, this should be increased to 9 seconds.

What to Do After a Rear-End Crash

A car accident victim should immediately seek medical attention for treatment of any injuries. Also, medical documents may be necessary because victims of these accidents may not be aware that they were injured until months or years later when it may be impossible to obtain proof that the accident caused their injuries.

Even in rear-end crashes, it is important to gather evidence as soon as possible such as witness names and statements. The other driver’s statements, such as whether they were texting and driving or rushing to another location, are also important. Personal electronic devices may be used to take pictures of the location of the vehicles, vehicle damage and traffic safety devices.

Obtaining legal representation can make the difference in having the negligent driver face liability for the accident. Insurance companies and defense attorneys may vigorously fight against responsibility, argue that injuries were suffered earlier or try to force acceptance of an unreasonable settlement.

Gerson & Schwartz has represented car accident victims in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and South Florida for over 40 years. We know the evidence you need to win a lawsuit. Our lawyers know how to fight for your rights at trial or negotiations. We will use our skills to obtain the compensation you need for medical treatment and lost wages.

Our Rear End Car Collisions webpage explains how our firm can represent you.

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