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Do you need a longer following distance on the interstate?

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Crashes

Your following distance is incredibly important to how safe you are on the road. It gives you a buffer zone that allows you to react to unexpected events ahead of you. If another driver suddenly slams on the brakes, even a slightly greater distance can have a drastic impact on whether or not you are able to stop in time.

However, you can tell that the speed at which your vehicle is traveling makes a massive difference. If you’re driving in the city, you may only be going 20 or 25 miles an hour. You don’t need very far to come to a complete stop, so your following distances don’t have to be as large as they would be otherwise. Does this mean that you need a longer distance on the interstate, where you may be driving 70 or 75 miles an hour?

The three-second rule

First of all, yes, you certainly do need a longer following distance on the interstate. Many people will use roughly the same following distance on any road, at any speed, and they drastically increase the odds that an accident will occur. This is not a safe practice.

Instead, the best thing to do is often to use the three-second rule. Count off three seconds between vehicles, rather than paying attention to the actual physical space. On the interstate, at higher speeds, three seconds is going to create a much larger physical gap than it will in the city, at lower speeds. Counting off the time means that you are always automatically adjusting your following distance so that it is safe.

Have you been injured by a tailgater?

You may use a proper following distance every time you drive, but other people are going to tailgate and cause accidents. If you’ve been injured in one of these crashes, you may need compensation for medical bills and other costs.