One of the most common vehicular accidents is a rear-end collision. This happens when drivers lack the maneuvering room to see and then react appropriately if the car in front of them suddenly stops. This can be avoided by keeping a safe distance between you and the vehicle to your front.
By following the Three-second rule, you give yourself some time to react to a sudden change in driving conditions. The National safety council believes that a driver ought to have a minimum three-second following distance.
The Three-Second Gap
It is really easy to make a three-second gap. If you are tailing a vehicle, just pick any road sign, building, tree or any other marker. When the vehicle in front of you passes just recite One One Thousand, Two One Thousand, Three One Thousand, and viola. Three seconds have passed. Only then can you also reach the same spot. If less than three seconds have passed between the car in front of you passing and your own passage then it might not be safe, and it would be a good idea to slow down to create more distance.
What You Need to Know
Consider this, when building highways the engineers use time rather than distance when creating spaces. The Engineering rule of thumb is 2.5 seconds. The idea is that within that time a driver can perceive danger and then react to it in time with a little allowance in case the driver has a slow reaction time.
The National Safety Council uses this standard, with a little extra time of half a second for safety, this is why they recommend the Three Second Rule. Regarding following distance.
When Three Seconds Isn’t Enough
The three-second rule is a good benchmark for drivers who are driving during ideal road conditions and in good weather. If road conditions are less than ideal or if there is bad weather it is recommended that you slow down and increase your distance even more.
Five-second rule is ideal during bad weather. After all, if the road I wet it is harder for brakes to bite as the road can be slippery.
If driving an SUV or larger vehicle, it might also be a good idea to increase the distance between your vehicle and the one in front. After all larger vehicles have more inertia and can take a longer time to stop. Even worse, a big vehicle with its center of gravity in weird places can suddenly fishtail or tip over if it tries to stop suddenly.
Be wary of distractions
Texting while driving is always distracting. The same goes when a driver is trying to drink or when the driver checks out his navigational device. Either way, distractions are a good way to risk accidents.
Even if you comply with the three-second rule if you are distracted, you might still be unable to react in a timely manner to potential dangers so avoid distracted driving at all costs.