How Following Too Closely Could Cause a Car Accident
It is important to leave enough room between your car and the one in front of you, so you have enough time to stop if the lead car stops suddenly. Otherwise, you could crash into the back of the lead vehicle and suffer whiplash or another injury. The more room you leave between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you, the easier it will be to stop quickly.
What is Considered “Following Too Closely?”
Under New Jersey Law (N.J.S.A. 39:4-89) drivers are prohibited from following other vehicles more closely than is reasonable and prudent. You must consider the speed of both vehicles, traffic and the condition of the highway when trying to determine the appropriate speed.
There is no exact definition of what is following too close. The law does not say you should stay a certain number of feet behind the vehicle in front of you. The law gives police officers discretion to determine when one driver may have been tailgating another.
However, one good rule of thumb is to leave one car length between the front of your car and the back of the vehicle in the lead. You can also make sure it takes you three seconds or more to pass a stationary object after the lead vehicle passes the same object. If you follow one of these general rules, you may be less likely to receive a ticket for tailgating, and, more importantly, you may be less likely to cause a crash that could lead to injuries.
What are the Penalties?
If you violate New Jersey law on following too closely you could receive a ticket, along with five points on your license, and although it is a rarity, you could face up to 15 days in jail. The fine associated with a tailgating ticket ranges from $85 to $200.
A ticket and conviction for tailgating can also raise your auto insurance rates significantly, and it may take years for rates to go back down.
It will also be up to the discretion of the judge as to whether your driver’s license will be suspended for a tailgating conviction. Most license suspensions related to tailgating come when the judge believes you were willfully violating the law.
Determining Fault in New Jersey
The driver who strikes the vehicle in front is often the one found at fault because tailgating is against the law. That means the tailgating driver is often financially liable for the damages that occurred in the crash.
Fault can be determined using dashcam footage, pictures, witness testimony, a police report and statements made by the drivers involved in the crash.
What is Comparative Negligence?
Comparative negligence covers situations when more than one party is to blame for an accident. Under New Jersey law, you cannot pursue compensation from someone if you are more at fault than they are.
If you were injured in a crash with another driver, you would not be able to pursue compensation if you were more than 50 percent at fault. If your percentage of fault is below that threshold, any compensation you recover will be reduced based on your percentage of fault.
Injured in a New Jersey Car Crash? Call the Lynch Law Firm, PC
Were you or a loved one injured in a New Jersey car accident because of tailgating? If so, it is important that you consider contacting a trusted New Jersey car accident attorney.
Our phone lines are open 24/7. Call us at Ph: (800) 518-0508 . A representative from our firm is ready to schedule a free consultation.