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Be sure not to follow cars too closely

With the holiday season approaching, more cars will be on South Carolina roads than usual. That makes it a good time to discuss a traffic citation just waiting to happen: a ticket for driving too closely.

It is dangerous for drivers to follow to closely behind another vehicle, especially a larger one, because it can obstruct the view of the road ahead. Under South Carolina law, the "driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent."

Still, it happens too often, with the driver violating the traffic law winding up running into the back of the car ahead of the them when that car slows or stops. That most frequently occurs in times of peak traffic volume.

However, it is not unusual to see drivers following too closely behind a large truck, such as a moving van or a bus, and then run into that huge vehicle. That's because the trailing driver cannot see the traffic light if it turns from yellow to red. It is tough to assess how much space is needed to stop, as well. That leads to drivers running a red light and getting ticketed for it. Not being able to see the light because of a bus or tractor-trailer will not get a driver out of a ticket.

Whenever drivers find themselves trailing a bus, moving van or a tractor-trailer, especially in the city, they must not follow too closely. They need to allow themselves plenty of room to brake so as not to hit the vehicle in front of it. Doing so also will keep drivers from running red lights and getting a ticket. Any accidents that might occur as a result of following too closely will more than likely be the fault of the driver of the smaller car, resulting in the potential not only for a moving violation, which carries a fine and points on a license, but also paying for damages.

Source: Morning News Online, "TRAFFIC ROUNDUP: Following too closely distorts perception," Allen Heidler, Nov. 3, 2012

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