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What is a safe following distance?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2022 | Car Accidents |

When you see someone’s headlights looming large in the rearview mirror, it feels concerning. You know that that driver is tailgating you and that they may cause an accident if anything happens. Even if nothing does, you’re stressed the whole time by the vehicle that is just too close to your car.

This may lead you to wonder what a safe following distance really is. Does someone need to be 100 feet back? 300 feet? What is the proper distance to really keep everyone else safe, and why do people not drive like this all the time?

Staying 3 seconds back

The truth is that the actual distance needed depends on the speed you’re driving and many other factors, such as the road condition and the weight of the vehicles. As such, a good rule of thumb is simply to be three seconds back from the next car. You don’t need to think about the actual physical distance, which can change dramatically, but staying three seconds back means that you’re always going to be pretty safe.

As to why people don’t do this, there are numerous different reasons. Some of them are in a hurry. Some are just aggressive drivers. Many of them are oblivious and they don’t realize that they’re actually too close. They just have no idea that they’re increasing the odds of an accident.

All that said, these drivers certainly are making it more likely that you’ll be injured in a crash. If you are, then you need to know how to seek financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other costs. 

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