July 28, 2016 by Minuteman Trucks
Drivers can help to avoid rear-end crashes by slowing down and dropping back from the vehicle in front, or by passing that vehicle if they can do so safely. Tailgating is not an option.
A common tool used to determine proper following distance is the 3-second rule. It works by choosing a fixed point that is even with the car in front of you, such as a road sign or building. If you reach that fixed point before you can count to 3, you’re following too closely.
While the 3-second rule is a good standard, you should be aware that there are other instances — in addition to when roads are slippery — when allowing more space between vehicles is prudent:
- Pulling a trailer or carrying a heavy load. Due to added momentum, the extra weight makes it much harder to stop.
- Following a large vehicle that blocks your view ahead. You may need the extra distance in front and to the sides to react if another vehicle up ahead starts a chain reaction by braking suddenly.
- Following a large truck or tractor-trailer. These vehicles have many blind spots and usually need additional lane space to make turns, so slow down early and allow plenty of room.
- Following a school bus. Buses make frequent stops, including ones at railroad crossings. When a bus’s safety lights are blinking, slow down and be on the lookout for aggressive or inattentive drivers.
- Being passed by another driver. Slow down to allow room in front of your car so the driver can safely cross into your lane ahead of you.
- Merging on the freeway. In dense flows, traffic can back up quickly. Scan traffic patterns to anticipate when you might need to stop.
- Following motorcycles. When a motorcycle goes down, you want to avoid hitting the rider. Motorcyclists lose control most often on wet or icy roads, bridge gratings, railroad tracks and gravel.
This safety bulletin is brought to you by Idealease.