According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, a driver of a motor vehicle should not follow behind the car in front of him “more closely than is reasonable and prudent.” In other words, drivers have to leave a reasonable amount of space between their own car in the car directly in front of theirs. If a driver follows the lead vehicle too closely, this is called tailgating.
The Florida Driver License Handbook recommends at last a two to three second following distance for standard passenger vehicles. This means that from the time the front car passes a fixed or stationary object, at least two to three second should pass before the car behind passes that same object. Large semi trucks are advised to maintain a five to six second following distance.
Drivers are also advised to keep weather conditions, traffic conditions and road conditions in mind when determining a safe following distance. If visibility is impaired by rain or fog, for example, motorists may need to leave more than two to three seconds of space in order to be safe. If a driver tailgates, or follows too closely, the driver could be charged with a moving violation, could be fined and could receive three points on his license.
A driver who tailgates also increases the risk of an auto accident. A driver who is following a lead car too closely could strike the lead vehicle if the lead driver must slow or stop for any reason.
The rear driver is generally presumed to be negligent and legally responsible for rear-ending a lead vehicle, because it is presumed he was tailgating due to the nature of the accident. If he had not been tailgating, he should have had time to react to the actions of the driver in the lead and stop in time to avoid a crash.
A motorist harmed by a tailgating accident, or his family, can pursue a claim for losses if serious injury or fatality occurs due to the tailgating driver. A Florida auto accident lawyer can provide assistance in proving the tailgating driver should be held accountable for all losses directly resulting from his decision to follow too closely in an unsafe manner.