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What is a safe following distance when driving?

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2022 | Personal Injury

Many collisions happen because drivers do not leave sufficient space between themselves and the vehicle in front. This is probably because most drivers do not know what the safe following distance is.

The physical distance will vary depending on the speed you are traveling at, the road conditions and the weather. For example, if you are traveling at 60 mph, you will need to leave a much greater distance than if you are traveling at 10 mph. If the road is covered in wet leaves, you will need to leave more than if it is dry, and so on.

It’s not even worth trying to calculate the distance

You have enough to be thinking about when driving without having to do constant math in your head to work out the precise following distance for that moment. Thankfully there is a much simpler method to help you stay safe.

Count to three for safety’s sake

Pick a point on the road, and when the vehicle in front passes it, you should aim to pass the same point at least three seconds later.

This method automatically adjusts itself for your speed. If you are going at 60 mph, then you cover much further in three seconds than if you are traveling at 10mph. Yet, by counting to three, you ensure you retain a safe gap.

Are three seconds always enough? It’s a minimum. You should increase it for poor road surfaces, inclement weather or reduced visibility.

Unfortunately, even if the driver behind you is keeping a safe distance, they might still crash into the rear of you if they are not paying attention. Too many drivers have no clue what the car in front is doing because they are looking at their phones, daydreaming, talking to people in the rear or a host of other dangerous distractions.

If someone rear-ends you, consider legal help to claim compensation for your injuries.