A lot of people who end up tailgating other drivers don’t even know that they’re doing so. The problem is that they don’t know how large the gap needs to be in order for people in both cars to be safe. They believe they are being safe, but the driver ahead of them does not.
This is an important distinction because people often assume that tailgating is aggressive behavior. And it certainly can be, but it is also likely that the other driver is just making an honest mistake. They’re not trying to put anyone else in danger. So how much distance do they need to leave to be safe?
The three-second rule
If you’re ever in doubt about how much distance to put between two vehicles, just find something you can use as a landmark on the side of the road. It could be anything from a restaurant to a bus stop. Watch until the car ahead of you passes that point.
After they do, simply count off three seconds. You should theoretically not pass the same point until at least three seconds have gone by. This system helps prevent tailgating because the distance in physical terms is automatically adjusted based on the speed of the vehicles. You cover more distance in three seconds at a higher speed, so you naturally get a bigger – and safer – gap between cars.
Have you already been injured by an aggressive driver?
It is good to understand how to keep a safe following distance, but you may already have been injured in a crash caused by a different driver. If so, you may deserve compensation for your medical bills and other costs.