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What is a safe following distance?

On Behalf of | May 22, 2023 | Car Accidents

One of the best things you can do to stay safe on the road is to maintain a proper following distance at all times. This reduces the risk of rear-end accidents. It gives you more time to react to situations ahead of you, which is a critical part of being a defensive driver. Even a half a second extra can make a major difference.

But how far back should you stay from the next car? What you’ll find is that most people accidentally tailgate all the time. If you maintain a gap based on the vehicles around you, you could be deceived into driving far too close. Many drivers are unaware of what a safe distance looks like and believe they are safe when they’re actually driving dangerously.

3 seconds of space

What you really need to do is to maintain three seconds of distance between vehicles at all times. Simply watch the vehicle ahead of you as it passes a stationary point. Count off the time until you pass that point, and make sure that it is always at three seconds or more.

The three-second rule works so well because it scales naturally with the speed of the vehicle. You’re going to be farther back if you’re driving at 70 miles an hour than if you’re driving at 20 miles an hour. Despite leaving the same three seconds either way, you get the distance that you need based on the speed of traffic.

Have you been injured?

Unfortunately, many drivers negligently violate this rule and cause serious accidents. If you’ve been injured, you may deserve compensation for medical bills and other costs.