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A refresher on maintaining a safe following distance

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2023 | Car Accidents

Motorists in New Jersey need to respect the speed limit and also make communication with others in traffic a priority. They must abide by all other key safety rules in traffic. Any deviation from best practices could lead to a traffic ticket and possibly the police designating someone as the party at fault should a crash occur.

There are many safety rules that people learn during a driver’s education course that they theoretically must practice on the road each time they drive. However, the nuances of those rules or the reason that inspires a particular habit may fade over time, leading to people engaging in less safe driving behaviors.

One of the more common reasons for officers to allocate responsibility to a particular driver involves a failure to maintain a safe following distance. Remembering the two guidelines below can make a big difference for those who want to avoid causing a crash on the New Jersey roads.

Follow the three-second rule

In most circumstances, the following distance someone needs to maintain will be approximately three seconds of travel at their current speed. Those in particularly large vehicles may need to increase that following distance to account for the longer stopping distance of a bigger, heavier vehicle. Maintaining an appropriate gap between the front of one’s bumper and the rear of the next vehicle ahead of them in traffic can help someone avoid liability for a crash or potentially avoid the crash altogether by having the time and space necessary to stop or otherwise maneuver.

Adjust habits for bad weather

New Jersey sees its fair share of blustery winter weather and precipitation all year round. Whenever there is snow, ice or any moisture whatsoever on the road, it will take longer for someone to bring their vehicle to a complete stop. Drivers must adjust their speed and following distance to reflect current road conditions. A three-second following distance may not be sufficient in times of bad weather. People may want to double the space they maintain between vehicles when the roads are wet.

If someone gets too close to the vehicle in front of them in traffic, they may not be able to stop if the other driver slams on their brakes. Applying trusted safety rules every time one encounters heavy traffic can make a major difference in someone’s overall safety (and potential liability) on the road.