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Can You Get a Ticket for Driving Too Closely to the Car in Front of You?

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You probably know that speeding is against the law, but did you know that in New York it’s also against the law to follow too closely to the vehicle in front of you? “Tailgating,” as it’s often called, is a violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law. New York requires that all motorists leave adequate space between themselves and the vehicle in front of them. 

The law states that “the driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.”

In other words, the amount of space necessary between the front of one car and the back of another must be reasonable considering the speed that the vehicles are going, the traffic conditions, and the condition of the road. 

There must be enough room between the vehicles so that another vehicle could fit in between them. According to the New York DMV’s Driver’s Manual, there should be a space of two seconds between motorists. You can determine this by looking at a fixed object (such as a road sign) and counting as soon as the vehicle in front of you passes it: “One-thousand, two-thousand…” You should be able to count at least two seconds before you pass it next. 

Consequences for Tailgating

If you are found to have been following too closely to the vehicle in front of you, it is considered a serious traffic offense. You will receive a ticket, which requires you to pay a fine. The fine will depend upon how many of the same offenses you have previously committed:

  • Up to $150 for a first offense
  • Up to $300 for a second offense
  • Up to $450 for a third offense

You can also incur four points on your driving record and your insurance premiums may increase as a result. Should you amass 11 or more points within 18 months, your driver’s license may be suspended.

The Reason Behind the Law

Driving accidents can be devastating, often resulting in serious injury to people and/or their vehicles, and sometimes even death. Considering that you are less likely to be involved in an accident if you have enough space in front of you, leaving space is in everyone’s best interest.  

Defenses to Tailgating in New York

While it’s always in everyone’s best interest to leave space between you and the vehicle in front of you, sometimes this isn’t an option. In certain locations with heavy traffic, such as New York City, it can be nearly impossible to find the opportunity for space. 

If possible, it’s best to switch lanes if it allows you more space. You should also be especially cautious in inclement weather. 

Factors such as the volume of traffic on the road while you were driving, whether the driver in front of you hit his or her brakes very suddenly, what the weather was like, and more, can change what was considered reasonable and safe at the time of the accident.

AutoTrafficTickets.com Helps Those in New York Who Wish to Challenge a Ticket 

If you have received a traffic ticket in New York, it can have very serious consequences on your life and your livelihood. That’s why it’s in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced New York traffic ticket attorney. If you wish to challenge your ticket, AutoTrafficTickets.com can help. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!

Posted in: Traffic Tickets