How to Calculate Proper Following Distance Part 2
KNOW THE DEFENSE
At 65 mph, a fully-loaded tractor-trailer requires a minimum of 665 feet of stopping distance. The most reliable method drivers use to gauge this distance is by counting seconds. To do this, pick a stationary object on the side of the road, like a road sign or overpass, and, as soon as the vehicle in front passes your chosen object, begin counting: “one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand…”. Continue counting until your vehicle reaches that stationary object.
In general, establishing a minimum following distance of six seconds is necessary. The chart below demonstrates.
At 65 mph, keeping one second of following distance means the vehicle is traveling 100 feet behind the vehicle in front. It takes an automobile a minimum of 150 feet to stop. With a 100 foot gap plus the auto’s stopping distance of 150 feet, an impact would occur within 250 feet. Since it takes a truck 665 feet to stop, it is clear that one second of following distance will result in a rear-end crash. It is not until six seconds of following distance is established that a tractor-trailer has sufficient stopping distance. These are in ideal conditions. Add one additional second for each hazard present, such as rain.
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