How do you calculate the three-second rule on the road?

On Behalf of | Sep 6, 2021 | Car Accidents |

When driving your car, one important rule to follow is the three-second rule. Essentially, it just means you should always be three seconds behind the next car. You may wonder why there isn’t a set distance — 50 feet, for instance — that you have to follow. Wouldn’t it make more sense to tell drivers how far back to stay? 

The trouble comes with changes in speed. If you’re driving downtown at 25 miles per hour, a safe following distance isn’t nearly as long as it is when you’re driving 75 miles per hour on the interstate. You need more distance at higher speeds. By using time instead of distance, you automatically give yourself more space when you’re driving faster, so you always have enough room. 

Counting off correctly

The best way to calculate this distance is simply to pick a stationary object ahead of the next car. It could be an exit sign on the freeway, for example. When that car passes the sign, you begin counting off the seconds. If you pass the sign before you get to three, you know that you’re too close. 

Clearly, this is not a perfect science. What if you count too fast or too slowly? There are variables, but the very fact that you’re thinking about it will keep you safer. The most dangerous drivers are often those who are oblivious, driving way too close without realizing it. 

Have you been injured?

That being said, you can’t control the drivers behind you. If one of them hits you and you suffer serious injuries, you need to know what legal steps to take to protect your interests and your future.