Why a two-second following distance isn’t safe

If you look for advice on how to maintain a proper following distance when driving, you’ll probably find that it’s agreed to be at least three seconds. This is true whether you’re driving on a residential street at 25 miles an hour or an interstate at 70 mph.

Many drivers do not follow this rule. They tailgate, leaving just one or two seconds between cars. If you ask them why they’re doing it, they might not even think there’s anything wrong with it. They claim that they still have plenty of space to stop in time. But here’s why they’re wrong.

Drivers can’t react immediately

When traffic is moving smoothly, it often feels like one or two seconds is enough. If nothing changes, drivers feel that they are driving safely.

If something does change, then the driver has to suddenly react. They think they can do this right away, but they can’t. Between perceiving the change ahead of them and moving their foot to the brake pedal, it will take them about 1.5 seconds just to start slowing down.

If that driver had a three-second following distance, they would still be 1.5 seconds behind the next car and they may be able to avoid a crash. However, if they only had one or two seconds to begin with, they could slam into the vehicle before they can realistically even slow their own car down at all.

Have you suffered injuries in an accident caused by a tailgating driver? You may be able to get compensation for medical bills and more. Having experienced legal guidance can help.

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