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What is a proper following distance?

On Behalf of | Oct 14, 2022 | car accidents

The following distance that you put between your vehicle and the next one on the road is very important. That space is the only space that you have to react if something unexpected happens.

For example, maybe you’re driving through a neighborhood and a child runs into the street in front of the car ahead of you. That driver puts the brake pedal all the way to the floor and stops suddenly to avoid the crash. If you were too close, you’re at risk of running into the back of the vehicle.

But how long does the following distance need to be? Many people accidentally make this mistake every day.

Count off three seconds

If you want to figure out how far back you need to be, the first step is to look at the car ahead of you and determine when it passes some sort of stationary landmark. This could be as simple as just watching when it goes by the next intersection or a sign on the side of the road.

Once it passes, then you need to count off three seconds in your head. If your own vehicle has not passed the same point when you’re done counting, then you’re far enough back. If you pass before three seconds have gone by, then you are too close.

This is a good system to use because your speed is automatically factored into the equation. You don’t have to worry about keeping a longer distance if you’re driving faster. That longer distance will automatically be created because you will cover more distance in the same amount of time.

Have you been hit?

As noted above, though, people accidentally break this three second rule all the time. If you get injured in an accident, you need to know how to seek financial compensation.