When you learned to drive, your instructor taught you to keep a safe stopping distance from the vehicle in front. Can you remember what that distance is, though?
People have since come up with a better way to explain things. They use time rather than distance. It is called the three-second rule, and this is how it works:
- Look at the car in front and the road in front of it.
- Pick a marker: it could be a line across the street, or it could be something to the highway’s side, such as a telegraph post.
- When the car passes it, count three seconds. Count out loud, “One one-thousand, two two-thousand and three three-thousand.”
- If you reach that marker in less than the time it takes you to count, you are driving to close to the car in front.
Remember, three seconds is a minimum safe distance when you are concentrating on the road. If you are distracted, you might cause another Georgia car wreck.
In some circumstances, you will need to increase the time and distance you put between yourself and other vehicles. In poor visibility or where the road surface is slippery, such as rain or ice, you need to leave six seconds. If you are towing, you should add an extra second for every 10 feet you haul. So a 30-foot caravan, for example, would need an additional 3 seconds.
If someone is sitting on your tail, even if you leave the correct amount of time, they may rear-end you if you brake. Slow down, and leave a space of six-seconds or more in front of you to overtake into.