According to data from the Ministry of Interior (MOI), ‘not enough Distance to the car in front of you’ = Tailgating is the #3 killer on our roads – and this has been consistent for many years!
How to do it right!
We just need to keep a safe distance to the vehicle in front:
- To be able to slow down in time or even bring your vehicle to a stand-still, if needed
- To have a clear view of the traffic situation
- Use the “three-second rule” under normal road and weather conditions:
- when the vehicle ahead of you passes a certain point such as a sign, count “one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand-three.”
- Counting these numbers takes approximately three seconds. If you pass the same point before you finish counting, you are following too closely.
- In low visibility situations like in bad weather, increase this rule to the “five-second-rule“:
- consider this in sand/dust storms, fog or rain
- Use common sense and use the “five-second-rule’ in dangerous situations – this gives you time to react (think tire debris on highways!).
- Give plenty of space to motorcycles, as they are more vulnerable
- High-end cars often come with a distance warning system and even ‘adaptive cruise controls’ – consider this in your purchase decision and activate this functionality
Watch out for this
- Do not drive too close to the car in front of you.
- You endanger yourself and the car in front of you, and potentially the cars behind and around you.
- It is a sign of proper road etiquette and manners, not to bully the vehicle in front of you -show a ‘caring’ and respectful attitude
Important to know!
Many drivers, drive in a false belief that if the car in front suddenly started braking, they would react and brake and end up stopped the same distance apart.
The total stopping distance of a vehicle is made up of 4 components.
- A) Human Perception Time … time the brain reacts to danger
- B) Human Reaction Time … time the body reacts to brain commands
- C) Vehicle Reaction Time … determined by: break pedal free play, hydraulic properties
- D) Vehicle Braking Capability … depending on: tire pressure, weight, weather + street conditions
A) The human perception time; is how long the driver takes to see the hazard, and the brain realize it is a hazard requiring an immediate reaction. This perception time can be as long as ¼ to ½ a second.
B) Once the brain realizes danger, the human reaction time is how long the body takes to move the foot from accelerator to brake pedal. Again this reaction time can vary from ¼ – ¾ of a second.
A) and B) can be effected by tiredness/fatigue, concentration/distraction and alcohol levels. A perception and reaction time of 3 or 4 seconds is possible. Hence we are looking at the following safe distances:
C) + D) A car’s braking distance depends on its initial speed and the braking force generated. Braking distance increases quadratically with speed. For the examples above, the following distances have to be added to stop a vehicle to 0 km/h:
Remark: The braking force in this example is the minimum prescribed braking force of 5.2 m/s2. Under normal conditions, this braking force is around 8 m/s2. Sources: http://www.abs-bv.nl/en/home/467-double-the-speed-four-times-the-braking-distance; http://www.planetseed.com/mathsolution/braking-distances