Heels & Horsepower Magazine


CAR TIP OF THE WEEK: How to Calculate a Safe Following Distance

For some curious reason some motorists seem to think that they closer they drive behind the vehicle in front of theirs, the sooner they will reach their destination but all they do is create an unsafe driving environment.

Keeping a safe following distance is one of the most basic safety tips most drivers seem to forget, yet by creating space between your car and the one ahead of yours all drivers immediately minimise bumper to bumper crashes and frustration.  

Regardless visibility, weather conditions and traffic volumes maintaining a three-second following distance is a safe thing to practise. 

To calculate a three-second following distance:

  1. Identify an object on the side of the road ahead of you
  2. When the leading vehicle passes that object, start counting as follows – one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three
  3. If you get to the object in less than three seconds, your following distance is too small and needs to be extended.
  4. Simply let off the accelerator and create more space. 

In poor weather conditions such as fog, rain and snow, your following distance should be increased to at least six seconds. The more adverse the weather becomes; the more space needs to be created between your vehicle and the one ahead of yours. 

Share this article: