Many people believe that when there is a rear end collision on the road, the rear driver is always at fault. That is often true. Texas follows the “assured clear distance” rule, which says that a rear driver should maintain enough distance to stop completely if the front car comes to a sudden stop.
However, there are certain circumstances in which the front driver is at fault, or fault is split between several drivers.
However, these scenarios can be difficult to prove, especially without evidence like a dashboard camera. Therefore it is wise to maintain a safe distance between your car and the car ahead of you, so you have time to react in case they do something careless.
Texas traffic laws and the Texas Driver Handbook require you to “keep a safe distance between your car and the one in front of you.”
Stating what a “safe distance” is can depend on the circumstances. The main rule is:
The faster you drive, the greater the distance between the front and rear cars should be.
|Driver / Speed||Minimum Time Between Cars||Road Conditions|
|30 mph or less||2 Seconds||Good|
|More than 30 mph||4 seconds||Good|
|Beginning or Inexperienced Drivers||4 seconds at any speed||Good|
Many driving instructors (and parents) advise new drivers that when one car passes an object, there should be “three seconds” before the car behind it passes the same object. The three-second rule is a measurement used by engineers to calculate a safe stopping distance for safety design. This rule is not the wording in Texas traffic laws.
Under Texas law, you are not permitted to drive unsafely just because other drivers are doing so as well. If you cause an accident because of your speeding, blaming the unsafe driver behind you will usually not excuse it.
If you are being tail-gaited, do not accelerate to an unsafe speed. Be cautious and turn on your turning signal. If the driver behind you does not slow down, do not accelerate.
Instead, carefully signal and pull over to let the other driver pass.
Do not confront the other driver. It’s just not worth it.