Safe Driving Distance Fact Sheet: What Is A Safe Following Distance
Do you tailgate ? You may have driven too close to the vehicle in front of you at some point in time, especially if you drive an SUV or sports car. Studies have shown that family and economy cars tailgate less than sports cars and SUVs by a ratio of two to one.
In fact, the same study compared the amount of tailgating in various U.S. states and found that these five states exhibited the worst tailgating, finding it difficult to maintain a safe following distance:
The sad truth is that tailgating is dangerous and causes thousands of vehicle accidents every year, as well as numerous fatalities. By learning the safe following distances for various vehicles like snow plows, semi-trucks, emergency vehicles and the average car, you can better avoid tailgating and a potentially life-altering accident.
Take a look at the graphic below to learn proper following distances for vehicles traveling at 55 mph so you can drive safe. Share to spread the word!
What Is The 4 Second Rule
For the average large vehicle, the 4-second rule is the best way to make sure you’re not following the car in front of you too closely. … Count the number of seconds in between the car in front of you passing the object and your vehicle passing it. If you count at least 4 seconds, you are at a safe following distance.
What Is A Safe Distance Between Cars At Highway Speeds In Texas
Posted by Greg |Auto Accidents
Sharing is caring:
Statistics show that driving too fast or speeding is one of the causes of frequent car crashes in Texas. When speeding, you have poor control of your vehicle, and you may not react to an emergency fast enough.
As a driver, familiarize yourself with the speed limits posted by authorities and abide by them. You may have observed that cars on a highway tend to be too close.
This may have left you wondering what a safe distance between cars at highway speeds is. Read on, and we will tell you all about that.
You May Like: What Does Tpms Mean On A Car
Which One Should You Use
If heavy traffic is moving slowly and consistently, and the road is not uphill, stopping close to the vehicle in front poses little risk leaving a lot of room between you and the vehicle in front means that less vehicles can fit in that stretch of road, and that prolongs rush hour. However, if you are approaching a T intersection, traffic lights or a pedestrian crossing and traffic is light, try to leave enough gap to see where the tyres touch the tarmac in the vehicle ahead.
What Is The Proper Following Distance Behind A Motorcyclist
Generally, its best to give a three or four second following distance when travelling behind a motorcyclist. It is also important that drivers be especially careful when near a motorcyclist and approaching an intersection.
How far should you be from emergency vehicles?
Stay at least 500 feet behind any moving emergency vehicle displaying flashing warning lights and sounding a siren.
When following behind a bus you should have a following distance of?
Ideally, you should always try to maintain a 3-second following distance or more whenever possible. This will give you more time to react in case the vehicle in front of you slams on the brakes or hits another car.
Recommended Reading: What Is A Muscle Car
Hit By A Tailgating Driver Our Virginia Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You
Accidents happen when truckers or other drivers are in a hurry and speed, or when they drive while distracted, fatigued, or otherwise careless and reckless. Their negligence can cause them to follow too closely and cause a rear-end collision. If you believe that you or a loved one was hurt in a car crash because a driver failed to leave a safe following distance, you should seek help from an experienced Richmond car accident attorney with delay. Contact Marks & Harrison today we have some of the best personal injury lawyers in Richmond through one of our 10 offices located throughout Virginia and receive a free consultation about your case.
Exceptional Circumstances For A Safe Separation Distance
Sometimes it is not practical to allow and keep the separation distance, such as in heavy slow-moving urban traffic, because of the limited road space available.
But busy, slow-moving traffic is the norm these days, and you must keep at least your thinking distance clear and much more than that if the road is wet or slippery.
The overall stopping distance is really the only safe separation distance. Anything less than this can be considered a risk.
Read Also: How To Paint Plastic Car Parts
Truckers Blind Spots The No Zone
Shaded areas are the drivers blind spots.
Passenger vehicle drivers incorrectly assume that a trucker can see the road better because they are higher off the road. While truckers do have a better forward view and bigger mirrors, they still have large blind spots or NO ZONES where your vehicle can disappear from a truck drivers view.
If you stay in those blind spots, you block the truckers ability to take evasive action to avoid a dangerous situation. Generally speaking, if you cannot see the truck driver in their side mirror, they cannot see you.
How Many Feet Does It Take To Bring A Car To A Stop
For example, if a car is traveling at a speed of 60 miles per hour, it will take at minimum 180 feet to bring the vehicle to a stop. Even then, the reaction time of an average person can make the time and distance required to stop even longer.
Whats the safest distance between a car and a snowplow?
For example, you should stay at least 70 feet or five car lengths away from a snowplow. For other standard cars, try to stay around 243 feet or about 16 car lengths away whenever you can. Of course, heavy traffic and busy roads dont always make this possible but this is the best space to ensure you can stop safely.
Read Also: What Do I Need To Get Tags For My Car
Tip #: Double Your Following Distance In Adverse Conditions
Adjust your following distance to appropriately match weather conditions, road conditions, visibility, and traffic. In emergency conditions, maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you will allow you to stop safely and/or to take necessary evasive action.78
Did You Know? The average stopping distance for a loaded tractor-trailer traveling at 55 mph is 196 feet, compared with 133 feet for a passenger vehicle.79
Did You Know? Braking distance can be greatly affected by road surfaces, weather conditions such as rain, ice, and snow, or debris.78
The Rule Of Seconds: How Truckers Can Keep A Safe Distance
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration suggests that drivers follow The Rule of Seconds. This rule states that any truckers driving below 40 mph must leave at least one second between them and the next vehicle for every 10 feet in length of their truck. If a truck is traveling above 40 mphsuch as on highways where theyre often permitted to travel at 55 mphthey should add an additional second for each additional 10 mph they’re traveling.
For example, tractor-trailers are typically 40 feet long, meaning a driver should be able to count four seconds between when the vehicle in front of them passes an object and they reach it while traveling at 40 mph. If traveling above 40 mph, a driver should count at least eight seconds between them and the vehicle theyre following.
Importantly, The Rule of Seconds isnt something that applies to all situations, and its up to drivers to determine how much time they need to stop based on their vehicles weight, length, stopping capabilities, and driving conditions.Remember, it can take a semi as long as 525 feet to make a complete stop.
Read Also: Do I Pay Taxes When I Sell My Car
Safe Following Distances And The Three Second Rule
Just the act of driving carries some degree of risk, but when your following distance is too close to other vehicles, the odds of getting into an accident increase by quite a bit.
In order to avoid collisions, keeping a safe following distance and using the 3-second rule can help you stay safe whenever youre behind the wheel.
Read on to learn more about the importance of maintaining a good distance and details about how you can put it into practice every time you drive.
Follow The Rule For Safe Driving
When you maintain a proper following distance and follow the 3-second rule, youll have a much better chance at avoiding a serious collision. Always ensure that you have enough time to react and brake so that you can avoid hitting a vehicle on the road.
Visit our website if youve received an auto insurance rate increase, a traffic ticket, or need to take a court-ordered defensive driving course to enroll in our online defensive driving courses today!
Recommended Reading: How Much Is A Paint Job For A Car
Assured Clear Distance: What Is It
When driving in Texas, you are expected to keep the assured clear distance rule. This rule requires that you keep a distance that allows you to stop your car safely behind the motor vehicle in front in case it stops suddenly. Rear-end car accidents happen suddenly and often with little warning.
However, this rule fails to define what this assured clear distance should be, creating a grey area that makes it hard to interpret that rule. Because of this, courts do not impose or interpret it as negligence in determining civil liability.
How Many Feet Should You Be Behind A Car
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors including the speed of the car in front of you the speed limit the weather conditions and your own driving ability. That being said it is generally recommended that you leave at least two seconds of space between you and the car in front of you for every ten miles per hour that you are traveling. So if you are driving behind a car that is going 50 miles per hour you should leave at least 20 feet between you and that car.
You May Like: How Much Is A Rental Car
Three Seconds May Not Be Enough
The NSC states that three seconds is the minimum five seconds is even better. It also advises increasing following distance significantly in bad weather. When hauling a boat, trailer, or camper, the NSC says to add one second to your following distance for every 10 feet of additional length.
The added weight of the trailer requires a longer stopping distance for your vehicle, the NSC says.
Stopping distance is a key to what constitutes a safe following distance. Heavier vehicles require more time and space to stop. The opposite applies, as well. Lighter vehicles stop more quickly. So, if you are following a motorcycle or smaller car, you should leave more space in case the vehicle suddenly comes to a halt or quickly reduces speed in order to drive around an object on the road.
What Is A Safe Following Distance While Driving
When you’re driving behind another vehicle, you can determine a safe distance between cars with the three-second rule. That means that when a car passes any given point, you should be able to count to at least three before you cross that same point.
This is just the minimum safe distance between cars. More space is better when possible and is recommended when the road conditions aren’t ideal. You’ll also want to give yourself more space if you’re driving a larger vehicle and/or towing a trailer, as it will take longer to stop.
**You may hear of the two-second rule which is the same premise but one second less. We recommend three seconds when possible.
Recommended Reading: How Much Does It Cost To Get Your Car Wrapped
How Many Seconds Should You Be Behind A Car
Many drivers follow the three-second rule. In other words, you should keep three seconds worth of space between your car and the car in front of you in order to maintain a safe following distance.
When approaching a school bus from the front you must stop if?
According to California law, drivers must stop when a school bus stops in front of them and extends its stop sign with flashing lights.
How far are you supposed to drive behind an ambulance?
When the emergency vehicle has passed, be courteous and let drivers ahead of you back into traffic. Use your turn signal. Do not drive within 150 meters of an emergency vehicle with its siren and/or flashing lights on.
How Many Feet Should You Stay Behind A Car Your Guide To Safe Following Distances
Leave “two seconds” of space between you and the car in front of you. It’s a common mantra in driver’s ed and most safe driving articles. But, if it’s been a few decades since you took driver’s ed, you may be wondering what that safe driving distance means . Help keep accidents at bay by learning how many feet you should stay behind a car, what factors impact safe driving distance, and what the consequences of tailgating slow drivers are!
Read Also: What Is An Agm Car Battery
Keeping A Safe Following Distance Doesnt Cost You Time
Many people think an increased following distance will cost them too much time, especially when driving in traffic. No doubt, youll be cut off and will need to further open the space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Itll be a constant challenge and youll have to constantly adjust. But just how much time will it cost you?
Well, lets say for every car that cuts you off, you lose 5 seconds from your day . And lets say youre cut off 50 times during your commute . That means youll arrive at your destination a whopping 4 minutes later than if you reduced the following distance. And lets face it, does each car that cuts you off really cost you 5 seconds? And do you really get cut off 50 times during your commute? You really arent losing much time. An accident would be much more costly.
Stopping Leaving A Decent Gap
- You have a better view of the road ahead, especially if the vehicle in front is a truck or bus
- If the vehicle in front stalls or breaks down then you can easily get around them without having to reverse
- If another vehicle hits you from behind you are less likely to hit the vehicle in front
- Less fumes will enter your vehicle or helmet this is good if its an old diesel-powered vehicle ahead which is likely to create more fumes
- As you are preparing to stop earlier, it gives you more margin for error, which is particularly useful on a motorbike when you might need to avoid a slippery patch on the road
- If you stop facing uphill the vehicle in front might roll back slightly which could cause a minor crash
- Leaving a gap allows pedestrians to walk through safely
- Leaving a gap allows motorbikes and cyclists to filter more safely as it gives them a space to stop. They will get to their destination before you anyway, so theres no point in deliberately preventing them from doing this
- If you notice someone behind might not stop, you can move forward to give them more space
Read Also: How Do I Connect My Phone To My Car
What Is The 5 Second Rule In Driving
If it takes you 3-5 seconds to pass an object after the car ahead of you has passed it, you’re at a safe following distance. You’ll need more space the faster you’re driving, so keep that in mind. If you follow any closer than 3 seconds, you’ll be tailgating the person in front of you, like a big jerk.
Determining Your Safe Following Distance
At a MINIMUM, during dry weather conditions, you should have at least 3 seconds of space between you and the vehicle in front of you.
Do this by using a fixed object such as a bridge, tree, or even a crack or shadow in the roadway. 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 dont make it to 3 by the time your front bumper crosses that same fixed object, you need to increase the following distance.
Of course, being further away than 3 seconds isnt only acceptable, its recommended.
VIDEO: How To Maintain A Safe Following Distance While Driving
Also Check: What To Do When Someone Hits Your Car
How Far Away Should You Be From The Car In Front Of You
It is generally a good idea on urban and suburban roads, to give plenty of space in front.
For example, on dry roads, you can leave approximately 1 metre for every one mile per hour, of your speed.
At 30 mph you will be 30 metres away from the guy in front enough to encompass the suggested overall stopping distance published in The Highway Code.
Working Out Your Stopping Distance
There are several ways of working out your stopping distance. One way is to multiply your speed by a certain factor that increases with your speed.
So, for example, at 20mph, you multiply by 2 giving you a stopping distance of 40ft. For 30mph, you multiply by 2.5, giving you 75ft and so on, adding 0.5 for every extra 10mph of speed.
However, this is too complicated to think about while you are driving and anyway, this only tells you the distance you need to come to a complete stop. It doesnt take into account the fact that the car ahead is also moving.
For these reasons, we need a better way to calculate a safe following distance that doesnt rely on you doing calculations in your head as you drive.
Don’t Miss: How To Charge Electric Car At Home