Top 3 Ways “Following Too Close” Affects Personal Injury Actions.
Make no “broken” bones about it! Many personal injuries arise from motor vehicle collisions where one motorist is following another motorist too closely. The following information is provided to assist in understanding how liability may be generally assessed in “following too close” scenarios.
1. Don't Follow Too CloseIdaho Code ?49-638 provides that the driver of a vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the vehicle, the traffic upon and the condition of the highway. There are definitely varying perspectives as to how one can know what an appropriate following distance is. One may say, "Two car lengths," while another may say, "One car length for every 10mph," and yet another may say, "Follow at-least two seconds behind." The most basic of answers though is this: If the vehicle in front of you were to suddenly brake and/or stop, would you have enough room to stop your vehicle without colliding with the vehicle in front of you? If the answer is no, then you are probably following too closely.
2. Don't Try & Scare The Vehicle Following You Too CloseIf another vehicle appears to be following you too closely, DO NOT try to scare them or "show them" or attempt to get them to back off by slamming on your brakes. Idaho Code ?49-808(3) provides that "No person shall stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle without first giving an appropriate signal to the driver of any vehicle immediately to the rear when there is opportunity to give such a signal." Said otherwise, even though you may be being followed too closely, if you slam on your brakes you may have just brought on liability to yourself for the collision.
3. Make Sure Your Lights Are WorkingMake sure your taillights and brake lights and turn signals are in proper working order. Time and time again when law enforcement show up to a rear-end collision, they commonly hear, "I had no idea they were slowing. There were no brake lights," or "there were no taillights," or "there was no turn signal." When the ambiguity of whether the car that was rear-ended had properly functioning equipment is brought into play, establishing and proving liability can become very problematic.