What Is the Safe Distance Between Cars While Driving?
Rear-end collisions are one of the most common traffic accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 2.1 million rear-end accidents occurred in the United States during 2018—comprising 32.3% of all crashes. Out of these accidents, nearly 600,000 resulted in injury and over 2,400 were fatal.
To protect drivers and passengers from rear-end collisions, Texas requires all motorists to maintain a minimum distance between each vehicle. These rules increase reaction time and ensure drivers have a safe distance to stop in case of an unexpected event on the road.
Texas’s Minimum Driving Distance Requirements
Under Texas law, all drivers must provide the assured clearance distance for any driving situation. There is no specific measurement for this minimum distance, so drivers need to use their own judgement to determine what is and isn’t safe. Law enforcement officers may issue tickets for following too close based on a number of factors, including road, traffic, and weather conditions.
Generally, drivers must allow enough space to stop in case the vehicle in front of them suddenly comes to a halt. While reaction times vary from person to person, the Texas Department of Safety recommends that drivers provide at least two seconds of stopping time if vehicles are driving under 30 miles per hour. If traffic is moving faster or if the road or weather conditions are unsafe, drivers should provide at least four seconds of stopping time.
The Dangers of Rear-End Collisions
Although rear-end collisions are common, they can result in serious injuries. Rear-end collisions generate a significant amount of force, which can severely injure drivers and passengers inside of the vehicle. A single rear-end collision can also start a chain reaction accident involving several vehicles, leading to additional damage.
Common injuries in rear-end collisions include the following.
- Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash
- Broken bones and fractures
- Back injuries, such as strains or sprains
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain damage
- Facial disfigurement
A rear-end collision can lead to financial, physical, and emotional hardship. These injuries will require immediate medical attention and may result in long-term complications, which may result in thousands of dollars in medical expenses. In addition, injured parties may need to take time off work to rest and seek treatment, leading to days or weeks of lost wages. However, victims of rear-end accidents may be eligible for financial compensation to recover from these losses.
Legal Options for Injured Texas Drivers
Texas is a fault insurance state and requires drivers to carry minimum amounts of liability insurance. If the policyholder causes an accident, a victim can file a claim against his or her insurance to recover compensation for medical expenses, vehicle damage, and other accident-related losses. Injured Texans may also file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
If you are in an accident with a negligent driver, you may have grounds for an insurance claim or lawsuit. To secure the compensation you need to recover, however, you will need to prove that the other driver caused the rear-end collision. In these situations, a Houston personal injury attorney can help.
A car accident lawyer can represent your best interests during an insurance claim or lawsuit. He or she can gather evidence, speak to witnesses, and negotiate with insurance companies and defense attorneys for maximum possible compensation. Contact your attorney as soon as possible following your collision to discuss your next steps.