Keep your distance

It is important that you keep a good distance between you and the vehicle in front. You may remember the 2 second rule. This is a way of checking to see if there is a good enough following distance. Pick a bridge or a sign and watch for the car is front to pass it, then count two seconds. If you pass the same marker before the 2 seconds is up, then you are too close and should consider allowing a bigger gap to develop. In the rain or bad weather, double this space to 4 seconds at least.

As a rule of thumb, leave a metre for every one mile per hour, between you and the vehicle in front – for example: 70 miles per hour, leave 70 metres. In the rain, leave double that, in very bad weather, first ask yourself if the journey is absolutely essential, if it isn’t then stay at home. In frosty, icy or snowy conditions, you need to increase your separation distance to 10 times the normal, and keep your speed down.

To help with spacing, you might find chevrons painted on the road surface. Keep at least 2 chevrons between you and the vehicle in front.

If a vehicle is very close to you, or you are very close to the one in front, this is called tail-gating and is an extremely dangerous practice, especially on the motorway where it is the main cause of serious collisions.

What if someone is tailgating you?

It is no good trying to speed up to avoid them, this will only add more danger to the situation. Try to move over to another lane, if you can, especially if you are in the right hand overtaking lane. The driver behind may consider your speed too slow, even if you are travelling at the limit. Safely move back to the middle or left lane as soon as you can, and allow the tailgater to get past you. After all, this is probably what he wanted, but it is not up to you to police his speeding. Let him get away from you – this is the safest solution. Never try to slow him down by braking or applying your brakes, this might initiate a dangerous incident.


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