This week’s road safety tip is following distances.The word “distance” is actually very confusing because the moment a person see this word “distance”, one’s mind immediately thinks in terms of meters. And we humans are not created to judge distances very accurate, specially if we travel at speeds up to 120Km/h.
If there is a law that states: “correct following distance”, then that means there is no grey area like approximately, about or plus-minus.. A law is a law and is either right or wrong, no “about’s or plus-minus”..
The correct wording actually should be: “What is the correct following Time-gap/ or Time space” between 2 vehicles, following each other?
The road traffic act states the following distance as “2 Seconds” or the “2 Second rule”. But with the modern technology and sophisticated equipment like Disc Brakes, ABS, ESP, etc on our vehicles, we promote a time gap of 3-4 seconds following time. One second to react once you see the problem and 3 seconds to manuevre you safely out of the situation.
To do the 4 second test, start counting in seconds if the vehicle’s rear-end in front of you passes a fixed object like a tree, lamp post, or paint line and stop the count when the front of your vehicle passes the same object. That will determine how many second are you behind that vehicle.
Increase the following distance in bad weather conditions or when visibility gets poor to 5-6 seconds.
If some-one cuts in front of you into the 4 second gap, ease-off a little on your accelerator pedal to allow yourself a new 4 second gap with the new car and go with the flow again. You will maybe loose one second traveling time to get the new following distance again, but will arrive alive..!