Three Second Following Rule for Drivers
Rear-end collisions are some of the common types of car accidents. In Australia alone, it accounts for about 31% of car accidents. These collisions occur when drivers do not pay attention to the road and the vehicles ahead of them.
It is recommended to leave adequate space between your vehicle and the one in front of you, especially during poor weather conditions. This gives you enough time to react safely and appropriately to slowing or stopping traffic. The best way to do this is by using the 3-second following rule.
What Is the Three-second Rule?
The 3-second rule requires every driver to leave a three-second gap between their vehicles and the vehicles in front of them. Determining this gap is simple. When following a vehicle, pick an object by the side of the road like a tree, a road sign, telephone pole, or other markers.
Watch when the car in front passes that object and note how long it takes you to pass the same marker. If it’s less than three seconds, leave more room and increase your following distance. It’s worth noting that some motorways also have chevrons marked on the ground, which help drivers in determining and maintaining a safe following distance.
Increase Your Following Distance
The three-second rule generally applies to passenger vehicles during perfect weather and driving conditions. Sometimes, you may need to increase your following distance, especially when driving at night, in heavy traffic, when visibility is reduced, or during adverse weather conditions like heavy rain and fog. In this case, you can double or even triple the three-second rule to maintain a safe following distance.
Stopping at the Traffic Lights
When you approach the stop line at the traffic light, you don’t necessarily need to retain a full car length distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front. The idea here is to have a gap big enough to let you see the rear wheels of the car ahead of you. In addition, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and create enough room for reaction time should something go amiss up ahead.
What Happens If You Don’t Follow the 3-Second Rule?
A common rule of thumb is that your braking distance is directly proportional to your driving speed. So the faster you’re moving, the longer it will take for you to come to a complete stop. Hence, if an emergency arises ahead of you, you may not help but bump into the car in front of you.
When you’re driving too closely behind another vehicle, you are tailgating; an action often considered an aggressive driving practice. Tailgating creates hazardous situations that put the lives of other road users at risk. To avoid such problems, make sure you use and observe the 3-second rule to achieve safe driving.
Learn to drive Safely with LTrent Driving School
At LTrent Driving School, we are Australia’s number one choice for quality driving lessons. Our goal is to provide learners with the necessary skills to become confident and safe drivers. Book your driving lessons online and get started with an experienced instructor today.
If you are a learner driver in NSW, you can also take the Safer Drivers Course