Tailgating Car Accidents in Florida

How Common are Tailgating Car Accidents

As one of the most populous states in the country, the high volume of traffic in Florida leads to a high number of car accidents. Whether it is a major collision or a relatively minor fender-bender, your perspective can change quickly if you are the one involved.

A common phrase included in police reports involving a car accident is that one of the drivers was following too closely, or tailgating. If you have been part of a tailgating accident, you likely have questions about liability and your rights under the law. By learning more about tailgating-related accidents, how they are treated under the law, and how a lawyer can help you navigate your case, you can work toward the best possible outcome for your situation.

What is tailgating?

Tailgating is a common term used to describe when one vehicle is following too closely to the one in front of them. It is generally considered unsafe because if a vehicle has to stop suddenly, a driver following too closely may not have enough time to respond. Because of this, tailgating is an all-too-common contributor to accidents in Florida and across the United States.

How common are tailgating accidents in Florida?

In 2018 alone, more than 20,000 motor vehicle accidents in Florida were due to a driver following too closely to the vehicle in front of them. This makes tailgating a very frequent cause of car accidents in the Sunshine State.

Is tailgating illegal in Florida?

Tailgating is illegal in Florida. According to Florida Statute 316.0895, drivers should not follow another vehicle closer than what is “reasonable and prudent.” This should take into account speed, traffic flow, number of vehicles, condition of the roadway, and other driving conditions such as rain. Violation of this law is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation.

As a general rule of thumb, the recommendation is to maintain a distance of at least two car lengths. When it comes to trucks or trailers, it’s illegal for the driver to follow within 300 feet of that type of motor vehicle.

Can you get pulled over for tailgating in Florida?

If an officer sees a motorist tailgating, it is cause for a traffic stop and a citation. If there is an accident, and tailgating is determined to be the cause, there can be a legal presumption of fault for the accident. Florida is a no-fault state, which guarantees compensation for damages through personal injury protection (PIP) insurance regardless of fault, but a person can still be held liable for the damage they cause.

If the defendant can’t show evidence that the other driver may have been at least partly at fault, he or she will be liable for damages arising from the accident through their insurance carrier, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Damages to the vehicles
  • Lost wages
  • Car insurance costs
  • The other party’s attorney’s fees

What if someone else tailgates you?

While you can’t control how other motorists drive, there are certain things you can do to lower the risk of an accident if you notice someone is tailgating you.

  • Make sure you are driving at the same speed as the rest of the traffic.
  • If you are driving with the flow of traffic and within the posted speed limit, let them pass you.
  • Do not spend too much time checking your rearview mirror that you miss the traffic in front of you slowing down. Doing so reduces your reaction time, and may cause an accident.
  • Do not try to confront the driver, angering an aggressive driver can be a safety risk to you and others.

All things considered, many accidents are not clear-cut. It is possible in some cases for a driver to be fully responsible for the accident. On other occasions, courts have determined that both parties share responsibility and will apportion their percentage of liability accordingly.

Whether you have been accused of responsibility for tailgating in an accident, or you have been rear-ended, a qualified and experienced attorney can help. Legal representation is there to ensure that your rights under the law have been fully protected and that you receive any compensation you are entitled to.

Call Clark Hartpence Law for a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Lawyer

The expert team at Clark Hartpence Law has decades of experience helping people whose lives have been affected by a car crash. If you’ve been involved in a car accident and don’t know how to move forward, let us help you.  Call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.