When you are out driving, you might sometimes feel too close to the vehicle in front and drop back. Or you might look in your mirror, worried about how close someone is following you.
It is common because many drivers do not know how far back they should be. Do you?
Follow the three-second rule
Gauging distance is too complicated, and the safe distance will change with speed. You need to be focusing on the road, not performing mathematical calculations. Hence the three-second rule.
You should stay at least three seconds back at all times. How far is that? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that counting to three seconds is simple. Count three seconds in a traffic jam, and it is not very far. Count it while traveling at 60 mph, and it will be much further.
At any speed, three seconds should be enough time to brake without ramming the car in front. You would typically need to do that if they brake suddenly due to something in front of them that you cannot see or anticipate.
How do you count?
Pick a point on the roadside and start counting when the vehicle in front passes it. The nose of your car should reach that point no sooner than three seconds after the rear of the car leaves it.
Are three seconds always enough?
It’s a minimum, and you should increase it in poor conditions.
If you are injured because someone rear-ends you, consider if they were traveling at a safe distance or dangerously close. The more you understand about the crash, the better your chances of getting the compensation you need.