The 3 second rule can keep you safe on the road.

Keep a Safe Driving Distance to Avoid Accidents

Driver’s education classes may seem like a lifetime ago for most drivers, but if you think back, you may recall some facts that you learned — like just how much space you should leave between your car and the vehicle in front of you. There are a number of ways to measure this distance, but these measurements all convey the same message: leaving enough space between cars can reduce the risk of an accident, keep you safe, and even save your life.

Following too closely behind another vehicles is one of the leading causes of rear end collisions in the United States. Drivers can avoid most — if not all — rear end crashes simply by leaving enough room between their car and the vehicle ahead of them. The amount of distance that is necessary will depend on a number of factors, including the traffic, weather, road conditions, and the types of vehicles involved.

Following too closely behind another vehicle is against the law in most states. In addition, it makes it difficult — if not impossible — to react quickly enough to prevent an accident in many situations. According to the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Agency, following too closely involves “situations in which one vehicle is following another vehicle so closely that even if the following driver is attentive to the actions of the vehicle ahead, they could not avoid a collision in the circumstance when the driver in front brakes suddenly.” In other words, when you follow too closely, you put yourself at risk for rear ending the car in front of you.

Maintaining a safe driving distance allows you to prevent rear end accidents — and it also enables you to drive defensively. When you have a gap between your car and the car ahead of you, you can plan out your driving decisions and scan the vehicles around you so you can avoid collisions.

So how can you measure a safe driving distance? One way to do so is by following the 3 second rule. Simply pick a point on the road — like a sign — and watch the vehicle ahead of you pass it. Then count the number of seconds that it takes for you to pass that same point. The number of seconds it takes for you to reach it is your following distance. If it is 3 seconds or greater, then you are at a safe following distance. Keep in mind that at night or during inclement weather, the following distance should be increased to 4 to 8 seconds. You should maintain these “cushions” as best as you possibly can, even while in traffic. Maintaining a safe driving distance can help make sure that if a car in front of you stops or brakes suddenly — or does anything else unexpectedly — you can react in time. It may not prevent all traffic accidents, especially those caused by the negligence of other drivers, but it can help make sure that you do not cause an accident.

At the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker, our attorneys are here to help people who have been hurt in all types of accidents, including car crashes. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. Contact us today at 800-333-0000 or to schedule an appointment and learn how we can help you.