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Understanding Florida’s Following-Too-Closely Law

Sometimes, when you are in a rush, you may find yourself impatiently following the car ahead of you closer than what you know is safe. In some states, such as Florida, this could get you a traffic citation if an accident takes place or you disrupt traffic. In Florida, it is recommended that drivers keep at least a two-vehicle length between their car and the vehicles ahead of them. This is to ensure that should the vehicles ahead of you stop suddenly or if debris falls onto the roadway and obscures your path, that you have ample time to avoid an auto accident.

For a somewhat harsh application of this rule, consider a recent article in which a couple who barely survived a terrifying accident on the freeway was issued a traffic ticket following the incident. While driving down the freeway, the couple was behind a truck when a couch fell off the truck and tumbled into their lane. When the couple swerved to avoid hitting the couch, they crashed into the median and their car flipped over. The vehicle was totaled and both individuals were transported to a local hospital. A Florida Highway Patrol trooper showed up to present them with a $166 traffic ticket for “failing to drive in a single lane.” Although it was a tough break for the couple, the Florida Highway Patrol claimed that troopers have discretion when issuing traffic citations. Fortunately, the couple walked away with only minor injuries, and a ticket—which some would argue is a small price to pay for surviving what could have been a tragic accident.

In Florida, the “Following Too Closely” statute states that drivers cannot follow vehicles ahead of them more closely than is “reasonable and prudent” and must keep the speed of other vehicles and the traffic and conditions of the highway in mind while operating their vehicles.

Often, Florida drivers will receive a traffic citation for this issue when they are involved in a rear-end collision or similar accidents. This is because many rear-end car accidents often involve the at-fault party following the car ahead of them too closely. But the rear-ending driver is not always liable in these accidents. Sometimes, if the driver of the vehicle ahead stopped suddenly, without reason, or their car was stopped in the middle of the road or in a spot with low visibility such as a hill, the rear-driver may not receive a citation because they exercised “reasonable and prudent” care while driving.

As is the case with most traffic accidents, there is not a bright-line rule when it comes to rear-end accidents, and courts typically review fault based on all the surrounding circumstances. Those injured in a Florida traffic accident should reach out to an attorney to discuss their case.

Do You Need a Florida Accident Attorney?

If you or someone you know has been recently involved in a Florida car accident, contact the attorneys at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada. Our team of lawyers has years of experience representing clients in all types of personal injury matters and understands how to navigate your claim through the system with ease. To schedule a free consultation today, contact us at 877-448-8585.

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