Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How close is too close when following another vehicle?

In 2010, 4470 motor vehicle crashes occurred in Overland Park. Among the top contributing factors were following too close and inattention. To better understand the dangers of following too close, you have to do a little math.

Take for example, a vehicle traveling at 45 mph. At 45 mph, a vehicle is moving at 66 feet per second. The average driver's reaction time is 1.5 seconds. That means an average driver traveling at 45 mph will travel about 99 feet before beginning to react.

If a driver is distracted by talking on their cell phone or holding a conversation with a passenger, their reaction time will be even greater. Patrol officers frequently observe drivers traveling at higher speeds allowing only a car length or two as a following distance. With an average car length of 18 feet, these drivers are following at less than 40 feet.

Reduce the likelihood of being involved in a rear-end crash by increasing your following distance. As a general rule, keep at least one car length in distance for every 10 mph of speed.