One of the leading causes for a multiple vehicle pileup is from tailgating. Why do people insist on following too close? Especially on the freeway, less than a car length between them and the car ahead, doing 80+ mph. Basic drivers education teaches the current formula or method to create a safe following distance (or what some also call a stopping distance). But, especially in heavy traffic, that formula goes right out the window, along with your manners and any remaining dignity. If you do go to the trouble of creating a safe following distance, another car will slip into that space, forcing you to tailgate. So, you once again you repeat the process to leave a safe distance between you and the car ahead and someone else slips into that space. Maybe that’s why people generally leave less than a car length between them and the car ahead. There’s no winning. Combine this with distractions and no clear visibility ahead and here comes your pileup and your picture on the six o’clock news.

This is why tailgating is most definitely a moving violation. With the rise of speed limits, the current following distance is now 3 seconds in dry weather. This is to be doubled to a 6 second rule in wet weather. And it is to be tripled to a 9 second rule in icy/snowy weather.

I believe that most driver education instructors teach drivers the following way. Once the car ahead of you has passed a stationary object, you should be able to count the appropriate number of seconds before your car passes the same object.

So, good luck there my friend! It may take you twice as long to get to your destination if you practice this method, but at least you will arrive (undead).

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

FOLLOWING DISTANCE – Comedy Defensive Driving School