A safe following distance is by far one of the easiest, yet most commonly broken rules of defensive driving. Even if you follow every other defensive driving technique, you can’t possibly be a safe driver unless you follow this rule each and every time you drive. If you keep your distance from other drivers, you will almost always have an escape route, or will be able to take some sort of evasive action with ease.
During dry weather conditions, you should have at least 2 seconds of space between you and the vehicle in front of you (3 seconds is better). Do this by using a fixed object such as an overpass, exit sign, or even a mile marker. Once the rear bumper of the vehicle in front of you crosses that object, begin to count… one-thousand one, one-thousand two, one-thousand three, etc. If you don’t make it to 2 by the time your front bumper crosses that same fixed object, you need to increase the following distance.
When driving during major inclement weather such as snow, ice, heavy rain, etc., you should increase your safe following distance to a minimum of 6 seconds (during extreme icing events, as much as 10 seconds is recommended). If you are in a rushing during poor weather conditions, you are an extreme hazard to yourself and everyone around you. Take your time, and keep your distance.
While driving in hazardous conditions, you shouldn’t be concerned with what time you arrive at your destination. You should be concerned with your safe arrival. Some drivers like to stay close to the vehicle in front of them because they believe it helps increase their visibility. That kind of thinking is exactly how multi-car pile up accidents occur.
Many people think an increased following distance will cost them too much time, especially when driving in traffic. There is a good chance you will be cut off and will need to increase the space between you and the vehicle in front of you. But how much time will it cost you? On average, you’ll arrive at your destination 4 minutes later than if you reduced the following distance. The 4 minutes is well worth the time as opposed to the time and money lost in a potential accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in car accident due to a driver following too closely, contact Jacobson, Schrinsky & Houck today at: 414-223-4444 or online at: www.jsh-law.com/contact-us
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