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View Full Version : Is it against the law to run out of gas? Anywhere?



scruffziller
10-07-2009, 04:53 PM
I was involved in a car accident wich involved me and 2 cars behind me. I was rear ended by the car stopped behind me as another car speeding rear ended them. All due to the guy stalled in front of me who had ran out of gas. We were stopped behind him momentarily becasue traffic on the right side of us was too thick to get over to avoid him. To the right of him was a raised sidewalk so he had no way of getting off the road. He already passed a gas station and appears he was trying to make it to the next one a block and a half away. The police did not give him a citation for it.
Someone had told me that in some places it is against the law to run out of gas and be stalled on the street. For obvious reasons. If it isnt a law, it should be. And if it is somewhere, it should be a law everywhere.
Keeping your gas tank full enough to ensure your vehicle does not become a obstacle hazzard is just plain common sense.:thumbsup:

TeeEye7
10-07-2009, 05:09 PM
First and foremost, I hope you're OK after the incident.

Here in Cali, there is no law on the books that I'm aware of (I'll have to ask Jon or Ponch next time I see one of them).

The guy who hit the car behind you, subsequently hitting you, should be the lucky recipient of a citation.At least that's how it would work here. HE caused the collision due to his possible inattention of the traffic condition ahead. At least that's how it works in my area.

The law allows people to drive on fumes, with bad tires, mechanical problems, etc. It's up to us good driver's to be vigilant around us.

As for a law on keeping gas in your tank, it's sad that that would even be necessary, but then again, common sense isn't in large quantities when people hit the road.

Sorry to hear of your experience, scruff.

scruffziller
10-07-2009, 06:12 PM
First and foremost, I hope you're OK after the incident.

Here in Cali, there is no law on the books that I'm aware of (I'll have to ask Jon or Ponch next time I see one of them).

The guy who hit the car behind you, subsequently hitting you, should be the lucky recipient of a citation.At least that's how it would work here. HE caused the collision due to his possible inattention of the traffic condition ahead. At least that's how it works in my area.

The law allows people to drive on fumes, with bad tires, mechanical problems, etc. It's up to us good driver's to be vigilant around us.

As for a law on keeping gas in your tank, it's sad that that would even be necessary, but then again, common sense isn't in large quantities when people hit the road.

Sorry to hear of your experience, scruff.

Thanx Tee!!
Yes, I am totally OK. I had no injuries whatsoever. Below is a pic of the only damage done to my car. It is a '92 Chevy Lumina, only 64,000 miles. Unfortunately, they could only give me about 1600 dollars in which it was declared totaled because the car itself as a market value is only worth about $1400. But for me a penny saved is a penny earned. Even though the repair estimate is about $1400. Ive spent more money on essentials of the functioning of the car, versus some minor body damage. There would be more reason to get rid of a car by what the engine does, versus a panel dent.
I had written this because I am almost more mad at the guy who stalled his car than the kid that ran into us.

Slicker
10-08-2009, 10:13 AM
I know in Virginia before you head into the tunnels there are billboards reminding you to check your gas. I'm not sure if it's against the law but seeing as they tell you and that accidents in tunnels are more difficult to clear I would assume that they could cite you for reckless endangerment or something along those lines.

mtriv73
10-08-2009, 11:11 AM
It's proabably not against the law to specifically run out of gas, but creating a road hazzard (which you're doing if you run out of gas in traffic and can't pull over) probably is. If the police were creative enough, I'm sure they could have charged the guy with something and make it stick.

TeeEye7
10-08-2009, 01:16 PM
If the police were creative enough, I'm sure they could have charged the guy with something and make it stick.

You're confusing the District Attorney with us.....;)

mtriv73
10-08-2009, 01:38 PM
You're confusing the District Attorney with us.....;)

Sorry, I should have said ticketed

Bel-Cam Jos
10-08-2009, 07:47 PM
I am pretty sure that tickling another driver or a DA is illegal (except in Maine). :rolleyes:

scruffziller
10-08-2009, 08:57 PM
I am pretty sure that tickling another driver or a DA is illegal (except in Maine). :rolleyes:

WHOAH!!!:D Hee Hee!!!lol

bigbarada
10-08-2009, 11:55 PM
I seem to remember hearing that you could get a ticket for running out of gas on the Autobahn in Germany, but I never once put it to the test in the 2 years I lived there.

Usually people run out of gas because they simply don't have enough money to buy gas. So I don't see how giving them a ticket and taking even more money out of their pocket is going to help them to afford to fill up their tank.

JediTricks
10-09-2009, 01:40 AM
As far as I know, it is not illegal to run out of gas, but it is illegal to obstruct traffic with your vehicle or to lose control of your vehicle or to have a vehicle that is not operating safely. If a vehicle is out of gas, the owner is supposed to make every effort to move it out of the flow of traffic if it is safe to do so.

If you were traveling at a safe speed and were rear-ended, the fault is not the obstruction but the person behind you who was following too closely to be safe (I think the law says that it's the car directly behind you at fault for striking your vehicle even though the car behind THEM is actually the offender here, and they will be cited for hitting the car behind you). Whatever the reason you had to stop, whether it's another car obstructing the lane, a lightning strike, a line of baby ducks, if you have reason to stop suddenly, the person behind you should be following at a safe enough distance that your unexpected stop won't cause them to hit you, that's crucial to responsible driving. It makes me crazy when someone is following too closely, it takes away the ability to stop in an urgent situation. What if the obstruction had been a person, or an emergency, or debris that fell off a moving vehicle, or a sinkhole? Just because the guy ahead of you had his car break down doesn't give the guy 2 cars behind you the right to drive irresponsibly.

People run out of gas, it happens, it's hardly the only thing to go wrong on the roads. My sister's gas gauge broke today and she didn't know when she ran out of gas on the freeway and was nearly killed by a fast-moving truck, she was extremely lucky to survive. The key is to be prepared for the unexpected, to travel at safe speeds and at a safe distance while keeping a sharp eye for unforeseen situations, not to plow into the people ahead of you because they stopped and you were too close.



The law allows people to drive on fumes, with bad tires, mechanical problems, etc. It's up to us good driver's to be vigilant around us.I was told otherwise in the handbook and during my driver's test 2 years ago, that a vehicle must be kept at minimum safe operating levels, which is why they can hand out fix-it tickets for unsafe lights or tires or missing mirrors or anything that could be a road hazard.


As for a law on keeping gas in your tank, it's sad that that would even be necessary, but then again, common sense isn't in large quantities when people hit the road.I myself always refill at 1/4 tank, but a lot of folks I know can't really afford the gas prices we have right now and push it to the limit.



Thanx Tee!!
Yes, I am totally OK. I had no injuries whatsoever. Below is a pic of the only damage done to my car. It is a '92 Chevy Lumina, only 64,000 miles. Unfortunately, they could only give me about 1600 dollars in which it was declared totaled because the car itself as a market value is only worth about $1400. But for me a penny saved is a penny earned. Even though the repair estimate is about $1400. Ive spent more money on essentials of the functioning of the car, versus some minor body damage. There would be more reason to get rid of a car by what the engine does, versus a panel dent.
I had written this because I am almost more mad at the guy who stalled his car than the kid that ran into us.That's a bummer. Looks like you got hit by an SUV or truck that wasn't using the modern bumper standards and thus had its bumpers too high, as well as at a full stop (or it would have dived down).

You may not want to repair the car if they're "totaling" it, unfortunately if you get it fixed, you may not be able to make future claims against the vehicle because it will have been re-classified as totaled and then salvaged. My dad did that, went through hell to get his car re-registered after insurance "totaled" it, and now if he gets in another accident he may be out of luck for the value of the car being reclassified as zero.

TeeEye7
10-09-2009, 04:43 AM
I was told otherwise in the handbook and during my driver's test 2 years ago, that a vehicle must be kept at minimum safe operating levels, which is why they can hand out fix-it tickets for unsafe lights or tires or missing mirrors or anything that could be a road hazard.


Correct. My bad that I stated it the way I did. What I meant to say is that in reality, RARELY are people pulled over for the conditions of their vehicles. I'm sure you see it every day on the 101, 405, 5, 118, 10, 110: that there's no way "that" car should be allowed on the road, yet there it is. The Poh-Poh just doesn't have the capability to stop every car. That driver, again in all reality, is probably driving that car with a suspended license, too, or no license at all.

The cops do what they can. In my county, there's one cop for every 1,000 people. That's a pretty daunting average!

El Chuxter
10-09-2009, 11:42 AM
It's illegal to fart on a cop when he's in a strip club. Little-known fact.

Slightly off-subject, but I cannot figure why California, with all its budget woes and the massive traffic tieups caused whenever anything breaks down on a SoCal freeway, doesn't require an annual vehicle inspection. Money for the state, money for small businesses (since the price is regulated, but they still get a cut), and safer cars. Every state I've lived in before required them, but everyone I mention it to in California sees it as a violation of rights. The right to be a dumbarse, maybe, but it seems weird.

scruffziller
10-09-2009, 01:38 PM
Usually people run out of gas because they simply don't have enough money to buy gas. So I don't see how giving them a ticket and taking even more money out of their pocket is going to help them to afford to fill up their tank.

The guy had money to walk up the street to get 3 gallons of gas to put in it and he just passed a gas station.



That's a bummer. Looks like you got hit by an SUV or truck that wasn't using the modern bumper standards and thus had its bumpers too high, as well as at a full stop (or it would have dived down).

You may not want to repair the car if they're "totaling" it, unfortunately if you get it fixed, you may not be able to make future claims against the vehicle because it will have been re-classified as totaled and then salvaged. My dad did that, went through hell to get his car re-registered after insurance "totaled" it, and now if he gets in another accident he may be out of luck for the value of the car being reclassified as zero.

It was actually an Impala behind me that hit me and a Pontiac that struck her. Pontiac being driven by a 1st year local private college kid. Probably on his cell phone.
The only thing that I want to make sure is fixed are the lights, which I believe that they still all work except one of them but its brother light comes on. And to make sure the trunk closes tightly to seal.

The car has only 64,250 miles on it and its a 1992. I've had very little maintence on it.

Do you think its time I take off the full coverage then and go for liability?

JediTricks
10-09-2009, 04:52 PM
Correct. My bad that I stated it the way I did. What I meant to say is that in reality, RARELY are people pulled over for the conditions of their vehicles. I'm sure you see it every day on the 101, 405, 5, 118, 10, 110: that there's no way "that" car should be allowed on the road, yet there it is. The Poh-Poh just doesn't have the capability to stop every car. That driver, again in all reality, is probably driving that car with a suspended license, too, or no license at all.

The cops do what they can. In my county, there's one cop for every 1,000 people. That's a pretty daunting average!Actually, here in LA you rarely see anybody getting a ticket anymore, and they don't seem like fix-its when they do. But I know folks who have gotten them in the past, so they do exist. :p I saw a woman one time who had big balloon tires on a little pickup truck, tires bald as hell, bouncing into the wheel wells due to bad shocks, my buddy and I commented that she was going to wreck in that thing and 4 miles down the highway she indeed had a blowout and sprayed that truck across the dirt median into the first lane of oncoming traffic, rolling it multiple times before stopping. We pulled over to help. The reality is that there isn't enough cops to pull over all the unsafe drivers here either, and we take it on faith that the cars driving around us won't get us killed.

Side note, I always thought "po-po" was a really stupid expression, even dopier than "one-time".



Slightly off-subject, but I cannot figure why California, with all its budget woes and the massive traffic tieups caused whenever anything breaks down on a SoCal freeway, doesn't require an annual vehicle inspection. Money for the state, money for small businesses (since the price is regulated, but they still get a cut), and safer cars. Every state I've lived in before required them, but everyone I mention it to in California sees it as a violation of rights. The right to be a dumbarse, maybe, but it seems weird.It'd require a huge new bureaucracy to enact it, as we have the most cars on the road of any state in the union, and a lot of poor folks don't want to be judged for being poor - they have to get to work too, and CA's public transportation is not very effective for them.

Let me remind us all to not get political here.



It was actually an Impala behind me that hit me and a Pontiac that struck her. Pontiac being driven by a 1st year local private college kid. Probably on his cell phone.Wow, you got hit by an Impala? That's crazy, your bumper looks fine and body panels above it look like they got directly hit.

I have grown entirely unsympathetic to distracted drivers lately, as if their conversation or GPS map or MP3s are more important than the lives of the people around them. We all do it to a degree, I suppose, but the ones that do it frequently should be forced to take the bus. At night. Downtown. ;)


The only thing that I want to make sure is fixed are the lights, which I believe that they still all work except one of them but its brother light comes on. And to make sure the trunk closes tightly to seal.

The car has only 64,250 miles on it and its a 1992. I've had very little maintence on it.

Do you think its time I take off the full coverage then and go for liability?I am by far no expert on such matters, you'd definitely need to talk to an insurance agent who has your best interests at heart to figure out what all can and will be covered in the event you keep it before you make any decisions. I think the first thing to do though is to have a competent mechanic figure out if there was any frame damage (your car probably doesn't have a true frame but a unibody), if everything's straight then you can think about moving forward with repairs, but if there's bends or cracks, then it's time to send it to car heaven. Anything structural on a car that age is going to be problematic (though you should be able to get some money selling the low-mileage engine and transmission as they were likely not affected in the accident).

Come to think of it though, no matter what you do, if the car is only worth $1600, you may as well drop the insurance that covers your car, you're probably paying more into it than you'll ever get back taking the deductible into account, but if it covers your passengers as well as your property, that'd be a reason to keep it.