When should you increase your following distance?

Car accidents come in many forms. Vehicles can crash into the front, sides or rear of another vehicle, and in any of these instances, there is the potential that the outcomes could prove severe. Because you want to avoid being involved in a car accident as best you can, you need to remain aware of your surroundings.

In particular, you can take many precautions to help avoid a rear-end collision. These actions may apply to helping you avoid striking a vehicle in front of you or in hopes of preventing a driver from hitting the rear of your vehicle. When working to avoid this type of incident, remember this phrase: following distance.

What is following distance?

In order to keep that important phrase in mind, you need to know what it means. Following distance refers to the amount of space between the front of your vehicle and the rear of the vehicle you are following. By keeping a safe distance, you may lessen the likelihood of colliding with the rear of that vehicle in the event that it comes to a sudden stop or decelerates quickly. In general, keeping a three-second distance tends to act as a sufficient space.

When should you increase that distance?

While the three-second rule may work in many cases, you may need to increase that space in certain situations. Some of those situations include the following:

  • Driving behind a truck or other large vehicle that limits your visibility
  • Driving in foggy, snowy, rainy or dark conditions
  • Driving when road conditions are more hazardous, such as while wet, icy or snowy
  • Driving behind a school bus, mail delivery vehicle or similar vehicles that stop often

You may also need to keep a greater following distance between your vehicle and the one in front if someone is following your vehicle too closely. By giving yourself more room to stop, you may avoid having to suddenly slam on your brakes and risk the tailgating vehicle hitting your car.

What should you do after an accident?

Unfortunately, even if you maintain a proper following distance, another vehicle could still strike your car. If you become injured in the event, you should first seek medical attention. Afterward, you may want to consider your legal options for pursuing compensation for your injuries, medical bills and other damages stemming from the rear-end collision.

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