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Why a 3-second following distance is necessary

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | Car Accident

Tailgating is sometimes intentional, often as a form of road rage. A driver will be frustrated or trying to pass, and they will choose to drive aggressively.

But there is also tailgating that is simply due to the rear driver being oblivious. They don’t understand that they need to keep a three-second following distance, or they don’t think it’s necessary. They may simply not check their following distance at all, assuming that they’re safe as long as it feels fine to them. They don’t understand that they are tailgating until they have caused an accident, in many cases.

Delayed reactions

But that three-second following distance is actually quite important. The issue is that there’s a delay in reactions when someone has to stop their car.

First, they have to see that there’s a reason to stop the car. This feels like an instant observation, but it actually takes about 0.75 seconds. Next, they have to move their foot and push the brake pedal down. Even when they do this as quickly as they physically can, it is still going to take at least 0.75 seconds. It could take longer for drivers who are distracted or have physical ailments.

In other words, if someone is driving too close to the car ahead of them, they can’t even begin slowing down for about a second and a half. In that sense, three seconds may be the absolute minimum that they need to avoid an accident. Anything less would cause a crash. 

Those who get injured in accidents like this, which are caused by tailgating drivers, need to know how to seek financial compensation.