Why 3 seconds could save your life when driving
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Why 3 seconds could save your life when driving

Rear-end accidents are among the most common causes of injuries to drivers and their passengers.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), they make up 29% of all crashes. Yet they are also one of the easiest to avoid.

All it would require is that drivers stay a  little further back from the car in front. If everyone did that, then rear-end crashes would mainly disappear.

How far should you stay back?

At least three seconds. If you want to increase that, you will have an even greater safety margin, although if you drop back too far, you should not be surprised if another driver jumps in front of you, cutting your safe distance again.

Why three seconds as opposed to a specific distance?

The distance needed to brake in time to avoid hitting the car in front changes depending on how fast you travel. Three seconds keeps you at a safe distance, whatever speed you travel at. Besides, it is much simpler to count to three than to calculate distance. 

What if the weather is bad or the road surface is greasy?

On these occasions, three seconds might not be enough. A thick fog or heavy rain makes it harder to notice when the front vehicle brakes. Poor traction means it takes longer to come to a stop.

What if the car behind me is not keeping a safe distance?

Many drivers have never heard of the three-second rule. Others may have, yet they are not paying attention or are impatient and could not care less. The best thing you can do is try to move aside to let them pass safely. If you cannot, and they crash into the back of you, then find out how to claim compensation.