Have you ever driven down Washington Road at rush hour? It’s just as bad as a lot of well-known areas of tense driving, with bumper-to-bumper traffic and cars cutting across multiple lanes in a hurry to reach their turn.
It definitely escalates the chances of a rear-end collision. The easiest way to avoid causing one is to maintain a safe driving distance behind the car immediately ahead of you. This not only provides enough time to react if that car suddenly slams on the brakes, but it also can keep you from being implicated if someone rear-ends you – because if you’re far enough behind, then you won’t get pushed into the other car.
But did you know there are other benefits?
For starters, if you aren’t trailing to close to whoever’s ahead in your lane, you’ll save your brakes from needless wear and tear. That’s because you’ll have more time to brake whenever necessary, giving you space to apply the brakes in a smooth fashion.
In addition, it can help YOU avoid getting rear-ended, because you won’t need to slam on those brakes. Gradual braking may signal the person behind you in time for him/her to keep from scraping your bumper…not to mention, it reduces the potential for skidding or other adverse driving effects.
It’s also a less stressful experience. Be honest: It’s easier to drive relaxed when nothing’s right in front of you!
In general, according to the National Safety Council, a three-second rule represents a safe driving distance. What this means is when the car in front of you passes an easy-to-spot object (like a road sign), it should be about three seconds until you pass that same object. If you pass it in less than three seconds…ease off the accelerator for a second and let that car move ahead!
In rough driving conditions, such as rain, sleet, snow, or even high wind, you should give even more time between you and the vehicle ahead.
Reminder: This is for any speed, as well. Whether in bumper-to-bumper traffic going 15 mph or on the freeway driving at 75 mph, the three second rule is a solid rule of thumb to use and stay safe.
Stay safe on the road!