Tennessee Rules of the Road: Following Too Closely

When reviewing accident reports from a car accident with injuries, we often find the driver at fault is cited for following too closely when the accident involved a rear end collision. Below is the statute from Tennessee law that sets out how closely one car should follow another. As you can see, there is no set distance, but rather a statement that you should take all factors into account, and follow a vehicle at a reasonable and prudent distance. When a rear end collision is involved, it is typically inferred that the driver at fault was not following at a reasonable and prudent distance because that driver crashed into another car.

T.C.A. § 55-8-124. Following too closely.

(a) 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 the vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.

(b) The driver of any motor truck or motor vehicle towing another vehicle when traveling upon a roadway outside of a business or residence district and which is following another motor truck or motor vehicle towing another vehicle shall, whenever conditions permit, leave sufficient space so that an overtaking vehicle may enter and occupy that space without danger, except that this shall not prevent a motor truck or motor vehicle towing another vehicle from overtaking and passing any like vehicle or other vehicle.

(c) Motor vehicles being driven upon any roadway outside of a business or residence district in a caravan or motorcade, whether or not towing other vehicles, shall be so operated as to allow sufficient space between each vehicle or combination of vehicles so as to enable any other vehicle to enter and occupy the space without danger. This subsection (c) does not apply to funeral processions.

(d) No motor truck of more than one and one-half ton rated capacity shall approach any other motor truck of like or greater capacity proceeding in the same direction on any of the highways of this state without the corporate limits of any municipality at a distance nearer than three hundred feet (300′), except in overtaking and passing such other trucks, or unless one (1) or both of these trucks have come to a stop or except in rendering assistance to a disabled or partly disabled truck.