Proper Distance Between Cars When Driving

Proper Distance Between Cars When Driving

Not all drivers are aware of the proper highway etiquette as far as distance between vehicles is concerned. There should be adequate space between you and the cars in front of you to keep you safe. Tailgating or driving too close to the rear of the car in front can result in either fender-bender or a fatal accident. People often ignore this on highways because there are no pedestrians, traffic lights, bicycles or intersections on these types of roads.  But since driving on a highway requires higher speeds, something as minor as the front vehicle stopping suddenly can result in a pile-up accident. That is why highway car accidents often result in more serious injuries compared to accidents on other types of roads.

Proper Driving Distance Between Cars

Proper Distance Between Cars When DrivingStudies show that Texas is among the states that exhibit the worst amount of tailgating. This can change if more people understand what “stopping distance” means. Stopping distance simply means how far it takes you to bring your car to a full stop in an emergency or when the car in-front stops without warning. Your stopping distance is determined by your braking distance and your reaction distance.

  • Reaction Distance: Your reaction distance is how far you car travels between when something occurs ahead of you and you reacting to that incidence.  There is a certain amount of time between when something happens and when you hit the brakes. Generally, people take 0.2 to 2 seconds to hit the brakes when something happens in front of them.  The reaction distance can be determined by how fast your car is traveling. For example, cars traveling slowly will cover a shorter reaction distance than those traveling at a high speed.
  • Braking distance:  Your braking distance is how far your car travels after you hit the brakes.  The speed your car is traveling directly determines your braking distance. This means that the faster you travel the longer your braking distance will be.

You can determine a safe distance by counting  the number of seconds it will take you to reach a focal point that is parallel to the vehicle in front of you. The focal point could be a street light, a street sign or even a building. If it takes you less than 3 seconds to reach the focal point, then you are driving too close to the vehicle in front of you. You should increase the following distance to 6 seconds on curvy or icy roads, or when there is reduced visibility. 

What To Do When Someone Is Tailgating You

 Someone may tailgate because they are in a hurry during rush hour, or they may do it to provoke you in a road rage situation. There is not much you can do to stop someone from tailgating you when you are in a traffic jam. But if there is no jam, you can try switching lanes or drive in the lanes to the right so that the faster driver can have the fast lane. If it is an aggressive driver tailgating you, remain calm and do not react negatively so that the situation does not get worse. Do not respond negatively to name calling or aggressive taunts from other drivers. 

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