Know the Road with the CHP: Will I get a ticket for following another car too closely?

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An ABC30 viewer wanted to know: could I get a ticket for following another car too closely? Or would I only get a ticket if it caused an accident?

"Traffic collisions can be avoided if you have a safe following distance," said Sgt. Brian Pennings with the California Highway Patrol. "So, therefore, following too closely is a violation that we vigorously enforce."

"The Vehicle Code requires you to follow at a speed in a distance where you can react to anything that presents itself in front of you," he explained. "Think of it like this. If the driver in front of you were to have to slam on their brakes and come to a stop directly in front of you, without any notice at all, are you following at a speed and a distance where you can perceive and react before you collide with the rear of that vehicle? That should be your following distance."

"Remember, it takes you three-quarters of a second to perceive and three-quarters of a second to react when you're at highway speeds, that's a tremendous amount of time," Pennings said. "It takes you 100 yards to come to a complete stop under perfect conditions only doing 55 miles per hour. Your force goes up exponentially as your speed increases."

For other answers from the CHP, go to abc30.com/knowtheroad.

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