Monday, April 7, 2014


A driver’s best defense against becoming involved in a rear-end collision is to create a “safety cushion” by keeping at least two seconds between them and the vehicle in front of them. This allows time for the driver to perceive and react to a roadway hazard, ultimately avoiding an accident. For added protection, when driving in poor conditions, such as driving at night, in bad weather, in heavy traffic, and through roadway construction, drivers should double their safety cushion to four seconds.

Many drivers are tempted to follow more closely than they should. This practice, commonly referred to as “tailgating,” is risky and can lead to rear-end collisions or other accidents. When drivers tailgate, they significantly reduce their stopping distance—or the distance needed to come to a complete and safe stop.

Stopping distance is much longer for a heavy truck than it is for a passenger vehicle, such as a car. In fact, it takes about twice the distance to stop a heavy truck than it does a car. Perception and reaction times are two separate intervals of time. Perception is the time we need to see and process the roadway hazard, while reaction time is the time needed for a driver’s body to physically react to their brain’s perception. When a driver tailgates, both are significantly reduced. According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, it takes alert drivers approximately two seconds to see a roadway hazard and react to it.

So--The more space a driver allows between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them, the more time they have to see a hazard and react safely.

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