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Is it time to rethink the three-second rule?

On Behalf of  | May 5, 2022 | Personal Injury

Rear-end car collisions are the most frequent type of motor vehicle accident in the U.S. In fact, according to reports from Insurify, almost 30% of all traffic accidents in 2021 were rear-end collisions. While these accidents commonly occur at stop signs and traffic lights, it is possible to have a rear-end accident on the open highway.

Tailgaiting is a bad driving behavior that happens when a vehicle follows another one too closely. To ensure you do not run into the vehicle in front of yours, it is advisable to follow the three-second rule.

What is the three-second rule?

The three-second rule simply says you should keep at least three seconds of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. To use the three-second rule, you should find a stationary object on the side of the road. Then, you should calculate the time between when the vehicle in front of you passes the object and when your vehicle does.

If you both pass the object in under three seconds, you are probably following too closely. Pressing on your brake pedal to increase your following distance may help you avoid a catastrophic injury in a rear-end collision.

When is the three-second rule too short?

Even though the three-second rule is a good one to follow, it is not always appropriate. That is, sometimes you should have a greater following distance than the three-second rule allows. Here are some situations when the three-second rule is probably too short:

  • During fog, rain, snow, sleet or any other type of inclement weather
  • During road construction
  • During low-light driving conditions

While you certainly can obey the three-second rule, other drivers may not be so conscientious. Ultimately, if you suffer a serious injury because another vehicle is following too closely, you may be eligible for considerable financial compensation.


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