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Is Tailgating Illegal?

What is Tailgating?

Tailgating is the practice of driving too closely behind the vehicle in front of you. It’s a driving behavior where a driver follows another vehicle with insufficient space between them. This can be very dangerous and is considered a form of aggressive driving. 

Is Tailgating Illegal in All States? 

Tailgating, or following too closely behind another vehicle, is generally considered illegal in all states, as it increases the risk of accidents. However, specific laws and penalties regarding tailgating can vary from state to state. 

In most states, tailgating is considered a traffic violation and can result in fines, points on your driving record, or even license suspension, depending on the severity of the offense and local laws. Law enforcement officers may use their discretion when enforcing tailgating laws, taking into account factors such as road conditions, traffic density, and the speed of the vehicles involved. 

Tailgating Law

In South Carolina, tailgating, or following too closely, is prohibited. The South Carolina Code Section 56-5-1930, states that “the operator of a motor vehicle may not follow another vehicle more closely than is considered reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway”.

Maintaining a safe following distance is important for road safety. The general rule of thumb is to stay at least a few seconds behind the vehicle in front of you, allowing enough time and space to react to any sudden changes in traffic. 

Dangers of Tailgating

Tailgating reduces the safe stopping distance and reaction time in case the vehicle in front suddenly brakes or encounters an obstacle. It increases the risk of rear-end collisions, which can lead to injuries, property damage, and traffic congestion. In addition, following too closely reduces your visibility of the road ahead and can make it difficult to see hazards, road signs, and other important information that could affect your driving decisions. 

Tailgating Injuries 

Tailgating can lead to various types of injuries in the event of a collision. The severity of injuries can vary depending on factors like the speed of the vehicles involved, the angle of impact, and the use of seatbelts and other safety equipment. Common injuries that occur due to tailgating-related accidents include whiplash, head injuries, back and spinal injuries, facial injuries, chest injuries, limb injuries, and emotional trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 


It’s important to remember that tailgating is a dangerous behavior that significantly increases the risk of accidents and injuries. Safe driving practices are crucial to preventing these types of collisions on the road. If you or a loved one have been hurt in an accident, call Philpot Law Firm and speak with an expert car accident attorney today.