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Vehicle Following Distances

Vehicle Following Distances

Reed Berry (Driving Expert) gives expert video advice on: How much distance should I keep between my car and other cars on the road? and more...

How much distance should I keep between my car and other cars on the road?

Under ideal conditions, the proper following distance when you're behind another car is the three second rule. This works from the time the back end of the car in front of you passes a stationery object, something that's not moving like a bridge or a light pole, you start counting, one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three. If the front end of your car reaches that same object before you count to three, you're too close and need to open up more space. Now, the problem is when you're a good little driver and open up that little space, bad little drivers will fill the space. But you have to maintain a safe following distance which is three seconds under ideal conditions, four seconds on rainy days, seven to eight seconds on icy roads, because the worse the conditions are, the more stopping distance you need.

How does distance between my car and other cars prevent accidents?

Maintaining a safe following distance will prevent accidents because, based on the weight of your car and the speed at which it's travelling, you need a certain amount of distance to stop. By maintaining a safe following distance, you will be able to bring that car to a stop safely without the possibility of rear-ending another car; possibly swerving into another lane and being hit by other drivers.