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How the 3-second rule could help you avoid a car crash

On Behalf of | Sep 6, 2021 | Car Accidents |

Many motorists claim to be safe drivers. Unfortunately, those are the same drivers you may notice checking their phones in heavy traffic, barely stopping at stop signs or for red lights and engaging in other reckless driving habits.

While you can’t control what other motorists do, you can make choices yourself that will significantly reduce your chances of causing an accident yourself. You can do so by employing the three-second rule. 

How does the 3-second rule work?

Most of us have heard that it’s important for us to maintain a car length’s distance for every 10 miles we drive from other motorists in front of us. You might not have heard of the three-second rule, though. The rule essentially focuses on the element of time in helping a motorist determine how to remain a safe distance from other motorists instead of length or speed. 

The way the three-second rule works is that you identify an unmoving object, such as a traffic sign or mailbox. You then look to see when the vehicle ahead of you passes it. You then count until you reach three seconds.  

Your goal is not to pass that same inanimate object that the motorist in front of you just passed while you’re still counting to three seconds. You’re following the motorist in front of you too closely if you reach the object before the three seconds elapses.

Why does the 3-second rule matter?

Researchers have determined that motorists need at least three seconds to react to unexpected stimuli, such as a dog running out in front of your car or if the driver in front of you experiences car trouble. They argue that anything less than three seconds doesn’t give you enough time to register that you may need to stop, hit the brakes and avoid a potential crash.

Employing the three-second rule can greatly reduce your chances of causing a crash. Texas is an at-fault auto insurance state, so defensive driving can help you assert a claim if you’re injured in a wreck with a negligent driver.