Following too closely in Texas is illegal, but it is also a dangerous and significant crash risk. If you drive, you have probably experienced this behavior from others sharing the road. It is an aggressive type of driving that is meant to intimidate and push other drivers to go faster or get out of the way.
The problem with driving too close to other vehicles is that it puts both drivers and their occupants in harm’s way. If a crash results, the tailgating driver can be held liable for the damages.
Injured in a crash caused by a tailgating driver? Our Fort Worth auto collision attorneys have extensive experience handling injury claims, and we are prepared to help. Call to discuss your situation and learn if you may have legal options for seeking compensation.
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What Are Texas Laws About Driving Too Close?
Texas Transportation Code Section 545.062 defines safe following distances for drivers in the Lone Star State. Specifically, drivers should not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, given the speed and traffic conditions. Additionally, the code specifies that a driver should have enough distance to stop or maneuver to avoid a collision in an emergency.
Drivers who fail to adhere to a safe following distance are violating the law.
How Close Is Too Close When Driving in Texas?
While the law does not provide an exact distance in feet or seconds, it does emphasize the importance of maintaining a safe following distance based on the circumstances. Drivers who took behind-the-wheel training probably learned about the practice of maintaining at least a three-second following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. However, this standard only applies to normal driving conditions. Normal conditions tend to mean dry roads, clear skies, minimal traffic and good visibility.
Alternatively, there are certain conditions where drivers are expected to execute good judgment. Drivers must also consider their legal duty of care and adjust their driving speed and following distance accordingly when conditions require it, such as for:
- Heavy traffic
- Low visibility
- Dangerous road conditions
- Bad weather
For instance, drivers know or should know that it takes longer to stop on slick roads. You cannot slam on the brakes in wet or icy weather because it could cause you to hydroplane, skid and lose control of your vehicle.
Drivers Can Be Ticketed and Fined
In Texas, following too closely is considered a reckless or aggressive type of driving behavior. At a minimum, this illegal driving behavior can cause you to get pulled over and issued a citation for a traffic violation.
What if Following Too Closely Results in a Crash?
Drivers who tailgate other vehicles are committing a traffic violation. They are also breaching their duty of care as a driver by putting themselves and others at risk of being injured in a crash.
If a driver follows you too closely and that negligent behavior results in a crash, he or she can be held liable for your damages, which could include:
- Emergency transportation to a nearby hospital
- Emergency room costs
- Diagnostic testing
- Surgery that may be needed
- Hospital stays
- Doctor bills, including for any follow-up appointments
- Physical therapy and/or rehabilitation therapy
- Pain and suffering damages
- Lost wages
- Future earnings
- Property damage
- And more
Is the Driver Following Too Closely Always Liable if a Crash Occurs?
While a rear-ending driver is typically liable if a crash occurs, there are times when the lead driver could be to blame.
For instance, if a tailing driver was following too closely, a lead driver could be liable if he or she purposely slammed on the brakes. This practice of brake-checking is what other equally aggressive drivers may do to teach a tailgating driver a lesson.
How Can You Prove a Tailgating Driver Caused Your Crash?
In order to recover compensation for your damages, you must be able to prove the other driver was tailgating you. You must also be able to show that he or she failed to take proper evasive actions to avoid hitting your car.
Evidence that could help to prove your case may include:
- Surveillance or dashcam footage
- Credible eyewitnesses who observed the tailgating driver
- Police reports that document what happened based on statements and crash scene evidence
- Medical reports that may support injuries that commonly result from rear-end crashes
Working with an experienced legal team can help to ensure you recover full and fair compensation for the damages the other driver caused.
Need Help After a Crash Caused by a Tailgating Driver? Call Our Law Offices 24/7
At Anderson & Cummings, we have a long and successful history of helping injured victims, including those injured by negligent drivers. During that time, we have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. These results include a $5.6 million settlement for a car crash victim who suffered a brain injury.
Our law firm is prepared to fully investigate the crash that caused your injuries and fight hard to recover the compensation you need.
Not sure if you have a case? Call our law offices 24/7 to request a free initial consultation. If your case has merit and we represent you, there are no upfront fees to pay. We only get paid if we win your case through a settlement or jury-awarded verdict
Experienced. Local. Lawyers. (817) 920-9000