If asked to name common causes of car accidents, you may cite drunk driving, texting while driving or speeding. While all these are valid factors, you may be surprised that tailgating is one of the leading contributing factors of Connecticut accidents.
Looking at 2014 Connecticut crash data, nearly a third of accidents resulting in injury involved drivers who failed to leave sufficient space between cars. In comparison, the second leading factor, failure to grant right of way, caused 16.5 percent of accidents. How can drivers increase road safety and decrease the probability of serious accident?
The three second rule
To sustain adequate space between cars, it is recommended to maintain a three second buffer with the car in front of you. When the other car passes a sign or road marker, slowly count to three. If your car passes that object before you finish counting, you are too close and should increase your following distance.
Accounting for adverse conditions
The three second rule was determined under ideal driving circumstances, such as a dry road, no snow or rain. If poor weather or road conditions impact your visibility or ability to handle your car, you need to increase space between vehicles. Some recommend doubling the amount of time between vehicles from three to six seconds.
Speed will impact your following distance
Keep in mind that the safe following distance increases with an increase in speed. If you are travelling at 25 mph, you will travel 111 feet in three seconds. At 65 mph you will travel 288 feet.
Drive defensively. Adding a few extra minutes to your total travel time is worth it in the long run if it can prevent accident and injury. It is our responsibility to keep Connecticut safe for all drivers.