Generally speaking, if there is a rear-end accident, it’s the fault of the second car — the one in the back. Even if that first driver slammed on the brakes and “caused” the crash, the second driver is legally obligated to have enough space to stop in time. If they can’t, then they were following too close.
There are exceptions, though. What if someone cuts off a semitruck?
It’s a serious problem, in part because many people do not understand how different a semi is from a small passenger car. Experts note that it takes more time for a semi to stop and that the truck will cover more distance while doing so “even in ideal conditions.”
It’s a problem of weight. A small car may weight 3,000 or 4,000 pounds. It’s nimble and light, so the driver can dart out in front of the truck and hit the brakes to stop. The truck weighs up to 80,000 pounds. Even if the truck driver hits the brakes instantly, there is just no way he or she can bring the truck to a stop that fast.
This isn’t to say that truck drivers are not responsible if they don’t keep proper following distances, but it is important to take the situation into account. Drivers sometimes cut trucks off right before a light, for instance, when the driver needed the entire distance to the light to stop.
To prove how this happens, many drivers use dash cameras. With or without that footage, if you get into an accident like this, make sure you know what steps to take.