If you ask most people if tailgating is safe or legal, they will tell you that it is neither. They understand that you’re not supposed to tailgate another car because it can cause an accident.
But if you then ask them what a safe following distance looks like, many people don’t actually know. This can lead to a lot of instances in which someone accidentally tailgates another driver. They think they’re safe. They think they have enough space. But they are technically too close and they’re increasing the odds of an accident without even realizing it. So what does a safe following distance look like?
Following the three-second rule
Fortunately, there’s an easy rule that you can use to make sure you’re always driving far enough back from the next car. You just need to count off three seconds between your vehicles. This works better than trying to determine exactly how far you are back in terms of distance because you can use the three-second rule on any road, at any speed.
To do it, you first pick something on the side of the road that is not going to move. It could be as simple as looking at the next stoplight or at a storefront. Once you’ve identified that spot, you then wait for the car ahead of you to pass it. As soon as that car reaches the item that you’ve chosen, you start counting off the seconds until you pass the same point. As long as there are three or more seconds, you’re safe.
What if you get injured in an accident?
As noted above, people often violate this rule, either intentionally or because they just don’t know that they’re not driving safely. If one of them causes an accident and you suffer severe injuries, you may be able to see significant compensation for your medical bills and other costs.