Recently while being a passenger with a much younger driver it came to my attention that new drivers don’t know about the dangers of tailgating. And I’m not talking about a 17-year-old who just got their license either (the written test for those drivers might at least still be fresh in their mind) I’m referring to twenty-somethings who have been at this driving thing for some time now and should now be safe and reliable drivers.
However as I held on for dear life, jammed my foot to the brake pedal that wasn’t there, made the sign of the cross while praying that this was not the end, and even closed my eyes on a few close calls, I had to speak up. I get that I’m “old” in the eyes of the company I was in, but I really felt uncomfortable being shotgun for this ride. I felt even worse for the backseat passengers. So, after yet another near miss and me holding my breath I calmly asked the driver.
“Dude, what happened to the 3-second rule?” “huh?” was the reply. Then I turned to ask the back seat passengers, all in the same twenty-something category as the driver. Do you guys know about the 3-second rule?
A car length for every 10 mph? The response was blank stares, shrugged shoulders, and nos. So, I went on to explain that for every 10 miles per hour you're driving, there should be at least one car length between you and the car in front of you. This will allow you to have the opportunity to react and stop quickly and avoid tracking into the rear end of the car in front of you. “Huh?” , “Never heard of that one.” Then I offered up the three-second rule, but still no one was chiming in saying “oh yeah, I do that” So then I explained that while you are driving, you pick a non-moving object along the road, like a speed sign or a telephone pole, and when the vehicle in front of you passes that object, start counting in your head. Count slowly "one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi,
three-Mississippi," and note when your vehicle passes that object. If you can count to 3 in the time it takes for your car to reach that object you would have enough time to stop suddenly to avoid the car in front of you if they had stopped or used the one-car length every ten miles per hour rule, then 60 miles per hour would equal six car lengths behind the car in front of you. .
Not even a total of ten minutes later, we rear-ended the car in front of us that stopped abruptly, me turning to the back passengers
re-insured “this is why we use the rules of following distances.
A good way to avoid an accident is to keep a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you.
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