Tailgating or following too closely is a form of aggressive driving; a group of behaviors that have shown to be a factor in at least half of all car accidents. Many factors come into play when deciding what distance you should maintain between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. In this article, accident attorney, Jeffrey Meldon, gives four important factors to keep in mind when keeping your distance on the road.
1. Speed – It goes without saying that, the faster you are going, the more distance that you will require to stop your vehicle and therefore need between you and the vehicle ahead. As an example: If you are going 60 mph, on average, it will take you 60 ft. to react or have “thinking time” and 180 ft. to break and come to a stop… that is 240 ft. overall (20 yards short of a touch down on a football field). Under the same circumstances, if you are going 30 mph it will take 30 ft. of reaction time plus 45 ft. of breaking time, requiring a total of 75 ft. to stop (the length of a semi). The most important point for a driver to remember is if you double your speed, your breaking distance does not become twice as long but rather four times as long!
2. Driver’s Reaction Time – While some people pay close attention on the road and have the ability to instantly react and avoid an obstacle on the road, others may not react as quickly to a driver in front of them that suddenly breaks or stops. In addition, any form of distracted driving will increase a driver’s reaction time, as their eyes and attention may be off of the road for seconds at a time. There are many other factors that affect this complex issue of reaction time, such as: age, mental clarity, alertness, road visibility, weather, the nature of the signal to stop, and other driving conditions.
3. Breaking Ability of the Vehicle – The heavier the vehicle the longer it will take to stop. Vehicles, such as trucks, require more time to slow down and stop; keep this in mind when you drive behind or turn in front of a truck. Remember, when you are towing a boat or trailer, or are driving a loaded vehicle, or a rented moving van – your stopping distance will be increased.
4. Road Conditions – In bad weather conditions, where visibility is limited, or where the road is in bad shape, stopping distances will be increased. Roads that are wet require double the space to break in. For example: Going 30 mph on a wet road: reaction time would be 30 ft., breaking will require 90 ft., requiring a total of 120 ft. to come to a stop. Going 60 mph on a wet road will require 420 ft. to stop; broken down by needing 60 ft of reaction distance and 360 ft. of breaking distance. Roads that have ice, compacted snow, oil, or fuel on them can require 10 times the distance to stop!
We at Meldon Law strongly believe that public education is the first step in the prevention of an accident or in the recovery from one.
We are experienced personal injury attorneys, trial lawyers, negotiators, litigators, paralegals, and staff that have been proudly working to get accident victims the justice they deserve for over 40 years in Gainesville, Ocala, Lake City, Inverness, and the rest of North Central Florida and North Florida. Accidents involving a car crash, truck wreck, and motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accidents, dog bites, slip and falls, medical malpractice, and criminal defense are all included in our practice.
Based on Jeffrey Meldon’s, founder of Meldon Law, over 40 years of helping accident victims get justice and a fair shake from the insurance companies, he has written the consumer guide book, Seven Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Florida Accident Case. You can request your free, no obligation copy right now, or contact our office for your complimentary copy sent to you today.
Contact Meldon Law at (800) 373-8000 or (352) 373-8000 immediately if you have been involved in a serious auto, truck, or motorcycle accident. We are in your community, have the experience and resources required to work towards obtaining a fair settlement for you – we are here to help you.