What Is The 3-Second Rule And Why Follow It?

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2020 | Car Accidents

Whether you are a long time driver or just starting, understanding and following the rules of the road are an essential aspect of keeping yourself and other drivers safe on the road. Especially nowadays, there are several distractions, such as texting, talking on the phone, loud music, road construction, or even unpredictable weather.

According to the National Safety Council, the 3-second rule is the recommended distance to follow when driving. This simple law is most often forgotten on the roads these days, and in some cases,  it can mean the difference between avoiding an accident and getting into an accident.

The 3-second rule helps a driver put a safe amount of distance between themselves and the vehicle ahead.

To check if you are traveling at a safe distance, follow these steps:

  • Pick a marker on the road – It can be a mile marker, overhead sign, or tree
  • Watch as the vehicle ahead passes the marker
  • Then count how long it takes for you to pass the marker (1- 1,000, 2-1,000, 3-1,000)

If you counted less than 3-second, you need to create more space by increasing your driving distance.

Increasing 3-second Rule When Road Conditions Are Bad

Rain, hail, hills, curvy roads, and poor visibility can impact a driver’s reaction time. That’s why it is crucial to not only follow the 3-second rule but to leave even more distance between yourself and the car ahead when road conditions are not at their best.

By putting more space between yourself and the vehicle ahead, you are providing a safe traveling distance for yourself and the car ahead of you. Also, you need to take into consideration that the car in front of you might skid, swerve, brake fast, or spin out of control because of bad road conditions. If that happens, you will need time to react quickly and safely. Whether that is moving safely to another lane, braking, or coming to a complete stop, you need more than 3-seconds to maneuver your vehicle out of harm’s way when the road conditions are not ideal.

If you are driving a bigger vehicle like a trailer, up-truck, or mini-van, you will need to adjust your space to account for the time it will take you to react.

How Long It Takes For A Semi Traveling 65 mph To Stop

For trucks and busses, the amount of stopping time and distance is much greater than the standard car. These types of vehicles are heavy, wide, and long. If they don’t follow at a safe distance and allow for the correct amount of reaction time needed, it can result in a catastrophic accident, causing extensive damages and even death.

If a semi is traveling at 65 mph with good road conditions, it will need 200 yards to come to a complete stop. To put that into perspective, a fully loaded truck will need close to two full football fields to stop.

Whether you’re a car or semi stuck in traffic or traveling down the highway, remember your life and safety are in your hands, and it only takes a few seconds for an accident to occur. Follow good distancing rules and adjust when conditions are not ideal because it could one day save your life.

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