Many people know there should be enough space between the cars in front of you to create a safety zone if an emergency stop must be made. That being said, equally, many individuals are unaware of how much space is needed or proper highway etiquette regarding distance. This can lead to road rage, highway accidents, or, at worst, highway fatalities. What is a safe distance?
In this regard, many individuals may consider that there are no stoplights, pedestrians, bicycles, or intersections; therefore, there is a lesser chance of collisions. However, this should not detract one from using caution when on the freeway. Driving on the highway requires higher speeds than the usual 35 that is seen on the typical street and country roads. As such, freeway crashes, when they occur, can then lead to a higher rate of bodily harm and accidents. Thus, the logic is that if you get into an accident in a highway collision, you are more likely to be seriously injured or perish.
Big rigs take longer to stop.
If an 18-wheeler or big rig is following you, know that it takes a semi one-third longer to stop at highway speeds. Always increase the safe distance if a tractor-trailer is behind you in heavy traffic.
Thus, knowing the correct distance between you and the other car can save your life or the life of the other drivers! Not to mention all passengers on board!
What is the correct amount of distance between vehicles?
The most common safe distance method is to follow the 3-second rule. Essentially, one should pick a focal point parallel to the car in front of you, such as a building or road sign. You then count the seconds you take to arrive at that same road point.
If you are under three seconds, you are following too closely to the other driver and must ease up to avoid a collision or potential pile-up.
If the road is icy, wet, or curvy, or there is an overall reduction in visibility, the consensus is to increase the following distance to 6 seconds rather than three. This will give you ample time if your car begins to slip under unfavorable road conditions.
Another rule is to ensure you can see the bottom of the other driver’s wheels. If you cannot, you drive too closely and must slow down.
What to do if you are tailgated?
Tailgating is considered the act of driving extremely close to the car in front of you and can not only be dangerous but off-putting to the other driver. As drivers in Houston know, many times on our highways, it is very hard to keep a vehicle from tailgating, especially during rush hour. But many rear-end accidents are caused by tailgating.
This, in turn, can lead to cases of road rage. As mentioned previously, the most important thing for you to do is to avoid tailgating to begin with. However, there is no way to control the other drivers.
Thus, remain calm if a vehicle is driving close to your backend. The worst thing to do is react negatively. You can then ease off the gas and put more distance before you. Avoiding a car wreck should always be your priority!
Another suggestion, if applicable, is to switch lanes so the situation is avoided altogether.
Finally, many Houston drivers drive in the fast lanes when they could and should be driving in lanes to the right. Let the faster drivers have the fast lane, relax, be calm, and arrive safely!
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What is a Safe Distance Between Cars at Highway Speeds in Texas?