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How do you calculate your following distance?

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

 When you’re driving behind another vehicle, it’s important to have an appropriate following distance. That distance is how long you have to react and stop if you need to do so in an emergency. If it’s too short, the odds of a rear-end crash are much higher.

But people sometimes have questions about how much distance they should leave. Do they need to leave 100 yards? Maybe 300 yards? Does it change depending on what type of road they’re driving on and how fast they’re going? How do they even calculate this when they’re behind the wheel?

These are all understandable questions to ask. Fortunately, it’s very easy to calculate the correct following distance.

Counting off 3 seconds

What you really need to do is focus on time and maintain a following distance of at least three seconds. If you’re driving at 25 miles an hour, that’s going to be a much shorter physical distance than it would be at 70 miles an hour. But as long as you count three seconds, the physical distance between vehicles automatically adjusts to account for road design and speed.

Additionally, time is easier to calculate while you’re driving than distance itself. All you have to do is watch the car ahead of you as it goes through an intersection or passes a street sign. You then count three seconds before you pass the same point, and you have a long enough following distance.

Note that you will need to increase the time if conditions are not ideal and it’s not going to save you from a crash if you are distracted, either.

Unfortunately, people make mistakes with their following distance all the time and follow too closely, leading to rear-end accidents. If you’ve been injured by another negligent driver, you may deserve financial compensation.