Everyone may accidentally tailgate at some point. However, when someone harasses another driver or in poor weather conditions, it can potentially cause serious issues. It’s stressful knowing you could suffer injuries in an accident through no fault of your own. But is tailgating illegal in Connecticut?
Tailgating Laws in Connecticut
Tailgating is illegal in Connecticut. Connecticut General Statutes Section 14-240 states that drivers should leave sufficient space behind the car in front of them to account for stopping distance based on weather conditions, road hazards, and the flow of traffic. The law doesn’t define a specific distance, just that drivers should be reasonable and prudent in their judgment of a safe following distance.
You should leave additional distance between you and the car in front of you under the following conditions:
- Heavy rain, fog, sleet, or snow
- Icy road conditions
- High winds that can blow debris into the roadway or knock down tree limbs
- Road construction zones
- Sand, gravel, or other loose sediment on the road
- Low visibility areas like blind turns or tunnels
- High-speed highways
Tailgating with intent to harass may also violate Section 14-222, which describes Connecticut’s laws against reckless driving. The reckless driving law prohibits any behavior by a driver that could endanger any other person on or near the road, including other drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Dangers of Tailgating
Tailgating leads to a much higher risk of getting into a rear-end collision. If you notice that you’re following a car too closely, ease off the gas pedal to slow down gradually and reduce your chances of causing a tailgating accident. If you need to brake, do so safely by applying steady pressure to the pedal instead of stopping suddenly.
If someone is tailgating you, you can reduce your risk of being rear-ended by:
- Following the speed limit and using your indicators when merging into another lane
- Braking slowly and leaving plenty of space between you and the car in front of you
- Merging into another lane safely when you have the opportunity to allow the tailgater to pass
- Pulling over onto a shoulder to allow the tailgater to pass
Most tailgaters are simply impatient and in a hurry. By allowing them to pass, you can avoid a confrontation that could lead to a road rage incident. Continuing to block their path could put you, your passengers, and other drivers in danger.
Penalties for Tailgating
Following too closely is a fineable offense that might include jail time under certain circumstances. It is an infraction to tailgate in Connecticut unless you are driving a commercial vehicle. If a driver tailgates while driving a commercial vehicle, it is a violation, and the driver must pay a fine between $100 and $150.
If tailgating results in an accident, it is a violation. The driver must pay a fine between $100 and $200. The penalties are higher for drivers who tailgate with the intent to harass another driver. The fine for a first-time violation is between $100 and $300, or jail time up to 30 days, or both. Repeat offenses include fines up to $600, or jail time of up to one year, or both.
Contact a Connecticut Tailgating Accident Attorney
Tailgating is illegal in Connecticut. If you were injured in a tailgating accident, you have legal options to pursue a personal injury claim for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and more. Call us at the Law Offices of James A. Welcome at 203-753-7300 or contact us online to schedule a free injury consultation at any of our offices throughout Connecticut.