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A proper following distance is 3 seconds

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2023 | Car Accidents, Personal Injury

Technically, tailgating is illegal. Even so, it’s something that you see happen with a fair amount of frequency. Most people know what it’s like to have a tailgater so close behind them, potentially increasing the odds of a serious accident.

One reason for this seemingly constant tailgating is simply that people do not understand what their following distance should look like. They have no idea how much space to maintain. They believe that they are driving in a safe manner when they’re actually increasing the odds of an accident and tailgating repeatedly.

To calculate the proper following distance, drivers need to leave a space of three seconds. It’s easy to calculate that distance simply by counting off the amount of time it takes for two vehicles to pass a stationary object on the side of the road. When drivers practice counting off this distance consistently, they will come to understand exactly what a safe following distance should look like. It will become second nature. 

Adjusting with your speed

One of the big benefits of using time to determine the following distance, rather than the distance itself, is that it adjusts for the speed of the vehicle.

At 20 miles an hour, vehicles don’t need to be very far apart physically for drivers to have three seconds in between them. Those same vehicles would need a much greater space at 70 miles an hour on the interstate. But drivers don’t need to calculate the exact amount of space themselves, which could be distracting and complicated. As long as they always leave three seconds, they should have enough space to react and stop the vehicle if need be.

Have you suffered injuries?

Unfortunately, many drivers still do not maintain the right amount of distance. Have you been involved in a car accident caused by a negligent tailgater? If you’ve been injured, you may be able to seek financial compensation.