Most drivers don’t allow for enough distance between themselves and other cars to be able to safely avoid a crash in case of a sudden braking or accident in front of them. What may seem like a safe distance often isn’t enough.
How to Ensure Proper Vehicle Spacing
A good rule of thumb is to always keep at least four seconds between you and the nearest vehicle. The faster the speed limit, the more distance this will be.
The next time you are on the road, check yourself to see if you really are keeping a safe distance behind the vehicle ahead of you by picking a signpost or other marker ahead. As soon as the vehicle ahead of you passes that landmark, begin counting, “One Mississippi, two Mississippi…”
Did you reach that marker in less than four seconds? Back off a bit and give yourself and the vehicles around you more space. In case of inclement weather, you will want to increase this distance even further to compensate for slick and slippery roads or poor visibility.
What if It’s Other Drivers Being Unsafe?
It can be very frustrating, not to mention dangerous, when other drivers are following you too closely. What can you do?
- If you can get into another lane, let them pass. Even if you feel that they are attempting to drive too fast, let them go. Stay out of the passing lane unless you are actually passing someone, and then move back over to the right lane.
- If there is no passing lane but you can safely pull off to the side of the road and let them pass, that is also better than staying in a dangerous situation.
- Keep a constant speed and ensure that you are not swerving or drifting lanes. The person behind you may be hesitating to pass because they don’t feel they can safely do so if your driving is erratic.
- You may be tempted to speed up if it feels like the driver behind you is pushing you to do so. But if that would require you to drive at an unsafe speed, don’t do it. Especially since they will often just speed up and continue to ride too close.
- Don’t succumb to road rage. No matter how tempting it may be to check your brakes, spray your wiper fluid, or make obscene gestures to vent your frustration, you will most likely only escalate tensions and things could become violent. 30 murders and thousands of injuries annually are linked to road rage. Don’t take the chance of becoming a statistic.
Driver Education Programs from DriveTeam
Learn how to become a safe, confident driver with DriveTeam. We offer comprehensive teen driving classes and corporate driving training to teach safe driving to all ages. Plus, check out our new Next Level Driver Training Program to become a truly advanced driver. Contact us for more information.