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How Dangerous are Tailgating Accidents in Florida

How Dangerous are Tailgating Accidents in Florida?

Cars that drive behind a vehicle too closely and with very little space are said to be tailgating. Oftentimes, tailgating is a result of an aggressive driver trying to enforce their will on the driver in front of them. Potentially the tailgating driver believes that the driver ahead of them is not moving fast enough or they may feel like the driver should move over into a different lane. Tailgating in Florida may actually even happen from a driver who is distracted and doesn’t realize how close they are following another vehicle.

Tailgating most often results in a rear-end crash and these accidents do not discriminate. The tailgating car and the car in front tend to both sustain property damages and the occupants of the cars, physical bodily harm. Tailgating can happen when a driver is tired, stressed, speeding, or engaging in distracted driving. If you were injured by a driver who tailgated you in Florida, call Sheftall Law. The talented and experienced Jacksonville car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Sheftall & Associates are dedicated to helping victims get the compensation they need to help them heal and move on from their car accident experience.

Is Tailgating Legal in Florida?

How Dangerous are Tailgating Accidents in FloridaIf you tailgate, you are not only putting yourself and others in your car in jeopardy but also those that are in the car in front of you. Potentially, cars behind you can also be affected by your actions, and then there can be several cars that collide should just one driver make a single mistake or not react to a change in traffic in time. When you are driving too close to another car you aren’t giving yourself much time to respond to their braking and changes in speed.

In Florida, tailgating is a moving violation, meaning this action is also unlawful. If you are pulled over by a Florida police officer for tailgating you could get a moving violation that comes with a fine of $60. You will have a certain amount of time to pay your fine and if you fail to do so, you could lose your license until the fine is taken care of. You may even have to go to court when you do not pay on time, which means that the amount you have to pay has the potential to increase through penalty fees. For people who have had multiple traffic offenses, then the initial fine you are subject to could be much higher than $60. 

Along with a fine, you may also have points put on your license that will stay there for as long as three years. If you continue to violate the rules of the road and get caught, additional citations can also come with points. Once a driver has 12 points on their Florida license in a year’s time their driver’s license will be suspended. Drivers guilty of tailgating are subject to three points being added to a driver’s license in Florida.

What Danger Does Tailgating Pose to Other Drivers?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that of all the crashes reported in 2018, 32% were caused by rear-end collisions. These incidents resulted in 2,439 deaths and 594,000 injuries. Tailgating happens often. While there are many, approximately 74% of those interviewed in a Michillen survey, who admit that they have been tailgated, only 11% of those same drivers say that they engaged in the reckless driving practice. 

When driving at 55 mph:

  • The average braking distance for a complete stop of a passenger car is 193 feet.
  • The average braking distance of a tractor-trailer for a complete stop with cool brakes is 256 feet.
  • The average braking distance for a tractor-trailer with hot brakes to come to a complete stop is 430 feet.
  • The average braking distance of an empty tractor-trailer to come to a complete stop is 249 feet.
  • The average stopping distance of an average tractor unit only to come to a complete stop is 243.

As you can see, with 55 mph being a common highway speed, even a passenger vehicle needs quite a distance to come to a full stop should hazard or changes in the environment take place.

What Should You Do to Stay Safe if You are Being Tailgated?

There are several actions drivers can take to avoid being tailgated or to remove themselves from a potentially perilous situation:

  • Perhaps you are driving in the passing lane and you are blocking others from passing because you are driving too slowly. If this is the case, find an open space to pull into another lane if you can. 
  • Look out for signs that post the speed limit and make sure you are driving at this rate of speed. While driving above the speed limit can lead to crashes, driving too far below can also be a menace to yourself and other drivers.
  • If someone is driving up behind you very quickly and riding your rear, give them the opportunity to pass you.
  • Being tailgated can be frustrating, but engaging with a tailgater with agitation or confrontation could make your situation even worse.
  • If you allow the tailgater to pass you, do not then engage in the same driving behavior and tailgate them back.

Drivers can be easily distressed by having another car tailgate them. Avoiding a Florida car accident and staying safe should always be the first priority. So working hard to maintain your emotional balance and calmness when you are confronted by an aggressive driver can help you make smart decisions. Then you are better suited to keep yourself and your car’s occupants free from harm by a reckless and headstrong driver.

Call the Jacksonville Car Accident Attorneys Today

In 2019, the total number of crashes as reported by Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles was 401,867. That year, the average number of Florida automobile accidents was 1,101 per day. The risk of being in a Florida car accident is high and when you are driving around aggressive drivers, the chances for a crash increase substantially. If you have been hit and injured by a negligent driver, call the Jacksonville personal injury attorneys at Sheftall Law to schedule a free consultation at (904) 638-7712 .