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Phone: 626-999-0735

Toll Free: 800-515-2183


When do you need to increase the safe following distance?

On Behalf of | May 23, 2024 | Car Accidents

Tailgating is one of the most dangerous behaviors on the road. It’s recommended for a following vehicle to be 3 seconds behind a lead one. That is, if the lead vehicle passes a stationary object, such as a tree or road sign, it should take the following vehicle 3 seconds to pass the same object.

However, in some instances, three seconds may not be enough. A following vehicle may need to increase its safe following distance.

Below are four examples of such instances:

1. Driving in bad weather

Driving in bad weather poses risks to drivers, such as poor visibility, rising water levels, increased stopping distance, debris on the roadway and so on. If you have to drive in such conditions, you should increase your following distance to avoid accidents.

2. Following a large vehicle

Large vehicles like trucks need more time to come to a complete stop. Being behind such a vehicle by only 3 seconds may be dangerous. You may end up hitting its back or worse, underneath it. You need to increase your safe following distance to respond safely when the other driver brakes.

3. Driving a large vehicle

Due to the increased stopping distance of large vehicles, it’s crucial to increase your safe following distance when driving one. This way, if a small lead vehicle stops, you will have enough space and time to stop as well. In turn, you won’t hit or run over it.

4. Driving in heavy traffic

Drivers in heavy traffic are likely to be stressed and distracted. Besides, aggressive driving is not uncommon in heavy traffic. With all these factors, consider increasing your safe following distance when dealing with traffic congestion.

If a driver hits you because they failed to observe a safe following distance or increase it, when necessary, get legal help to be compensated.

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