Distracted driving is a huge cause of car accidents in the US, and that’s mostly because our reflexes and response times are slowed down when we’re not paying attention. Unfortunately we’re not alone on the road, and it only takes one distracted driver to cause an accident. Someone who isn’t paying attention or is driving under the influence of drugs can do unpredictable things that can put you in danger even if you’re alert and keeping your eyes on the road. Maintaining the proper distance from the car in front of us is meant to keep us safe.

What’s the right distance?

Estimating the proper following distance just by looking isn’t very effective because it’s different depending on how fast you’re moving. We need a better way. It’s better if you give yourself a certain amount of time to react. In most cases, that amount of time should be 3 seconds.

The 3-second rule is that you should stay three seconds behind the car in front of you in order to ensure that you have enough time to notice a threat, react to it and to slow down the vehicle. The easiest way to do that is to watch for an object that the car is passing, like a tree or a sign, and to count how many seconds it takes for you to reach it after that car passes. If it’s less than 3 seconds then it’s best to back off a little.

Of course that recommended distance changes if you’re driving a bigger, heavier vehicle, because it takes longer to come to a stop. Traveling in bad weather also makes it more difficult to see, and reduces the amount of traction your tires get on the road, which only makes it more difficult to recognize problems and stop in time. If you’re in bad conditions it can take as much as a 6 second following distance to keep you safe. If you end up stuck in a blizzard or dense fog you should, of course, just pull over.

Always Be Prepared

Accidents happen no matter how safely you drive, because so many drivers don’t follow this basic 3-second rule. Because of that it’s important to be prepared to start dealing with medical and legal issues right away. Get your injuries treated as soon as possible so that you can claim the pain and suffering damages that you might be owed. We can refer you to a local medical center. If you have any neck and shoulder pain after an accident or display any other symptoms of whiplash you should give us a call immediately (1-800-465-8733). We work with experienced team of legal and medical experts.

Category: Car Accidents