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    2019
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Maintaining a Safe Following Distance

Maintaining a Safe Following Distance

Source: http://www.smartmotorist.com/traffic-and-safety-guideline/maintain-a-safe-following-distance-the-3-second-rule.html

Good Weather – During daylight with good, dry roads and low traffic volume, you can ensure you’re a safe distance from the car ahead of you by following the “three-second rule.” The distance changes at different speeds.

To determine the a safe following distance, first select a fixed object on the road ahead such as a sign, tree or overpass. When the vehicle ahead of you passes the object, slowly count “one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand.” If you reach the object before completing the count, you’re following too closely. Making sure there are three seconds between you and the car ahead gives you time and distance to respond to problems in the lane ahead of you.

Inclement Weather, Heavy Traffic, or Night-Time Driving – In heavy traffic, at night, or when weather conditions are not ideal (eg. light rain, light fog, light snow), double the three second rule to six seconds, for added safety.

Poor Weather – If the weather conditions are very poor, i.e. heavy rain, heavy fog, or heavy snow, start by tripling the three second rule to nine seconds to determine a safe following distance.

Tailgating – Following a vehicle too closely is called ‘tailgating’. Tailgating is an aggressive driving behavior that is easily mistaken for road rage. Use the three-second rule to avoid tailgating. Most rear end collisions are caused by the vehicle in back following too closely. If someone is tailgating you, move to another lane or turn off the road as soon as possible and allow the tailgating vehicle to pass.

Those that drive family & economy cars tailgate less than those who drive sportscars and SUVs by a ratio of 2 to 1.

The results for the 10 states in this sample for which I had enough respondents to make statistical comparisons, show the worst five States with a mean of 21% dangerous tailgating: Colorado (25%), Georgia (20%), Pennsylvania (20%), Michigan (19%), Texas (19%). The lowest tailgating States are: Illinois (8%), New York (10%), Florida (14%), Ohio (15%), California (18%).

There are as you might expect, age differences as well as gender differences. Among young drivers, 19% admit to tailgating dangerously, which is about one in five. This is more than middle aged drivers (15%) and senior drivers (6%). This age pattern recurs in many aggressive driving behaviors: as we get older, we drive less aggressively. Women admit to as much tailgating as men (15%), in general, but once again there are significant influences attributable to the type of car they drive, as show in this table:

You can see that those drive the “soft” cars (family and economy) tailgate less than those who drive the “hard” cars (sports and SUV) with a ratio of two to one. This holds true for both men and women. However, with SUV drivers we see a reversal between the genders: more female SUV drivers tailgate dangerously, by their own admission, than male drivers of SUVs.

The material contained in this newsletter is for informational purposes only and is based on sources believed to be reliable and authoritative. However, this information has not been independently verified by us. This newsletter should not be construed as offering professional advice.

The material contained in this newsletter is for informational purposes only and is based on sources believed to be reliable and authoritative. However, this information has not been independently verified by us. This newsletter should not be construed as offering professional advice.