3 Second Rule for Safe Driving

3 Second Rule for Safe Driving

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (‘NHTSA’) keeps data on all reported car accidents and has found that the most common type of car accident is a rear end collision. Living in San Diego, we see these rear end accidents happens almost every day on our daily commutes. However seeing these accidents after they occur and being rear ended in one is extremely different.

Rear end accidents can be caused by several different things such as distracted driving, drunk driving, mechanical issues, and a variety of other causes. However, these rear end accidents will frequently happen because one driver doesn’t have enough time to react to a car slowing down or stopping in front of them. Even if the driver is paying attention to the road and sees the car slowing, but by not putting enough distance between their car and the car in front of them, they are not quick enough to stop their car and consequently run into the back of the other car. 

That exact scenario occurs every day and is the reason why putting more space between you and the car in front of you is a smart idea; it provides more time to react, slow down, and avoid rear ending the car in front of you. 

What is the 3 Second Rule?The 3 Second Rule is a safety tip that helps give drivers the time they need to stop if something in the road happens quickly in front of them. Learning and applying this rule is easy. When following a vehicle, pick out a marker such as a tree, overhead road sign or other non-moving marker. Then, watch when the vehicle in front of you passes your selected marker and begin counting how long it takes you to pass the same spot. Count fully and slowly; 1-1000; 2-1000; 3-1000. If you count less than 3, you should slow down and provide more space between you and the car in front of you in case of emergency.

The 3 Second Rule also helps to prevent tailgating. Many people feel anxious and threatened when someone is closely following behind them. It can be seen as an aggressive maneuver that, intentional or not, can be mistaken for or sparks road rage. By keeping a safe distance from the driver in front of you, these feelings will be avoided as they see that you’re not doing anything that may endanger them on the road. 

3 seconds is not always enough timeWhile a helpful tip, the 3 Second Rule it’s not a hard and fast rule. When weather conditions are bad such as when it rains, when it is foggy, or anytime when conditions are otherwise less than ideal, you may need more than 3 seconds to stop. It does not rain often in San Diego but when it does, we all see how congested the roads are and how bad the drivers can be. When the weather is making the roads more dangerous, it may be best to double or triple the 3 Second Rule to provide an additional buffer against the natural conditions. 

Even when using the 3 Second Rule, any distractions within the car can negate its effectiveness. A simple distraction that takes your eyes off the road could possibly destroy the buffer zone you have created by following 3 seconds behind.

While stopped at traffic lights Obviously, the 3 second rule does not apply when you are stopped at traffic lights. However, we still recommend that you should still keep some distance between yourself and the car in front of you. In situations when you are stopped at a traffic light or stop sign, it’s a good idea to keep enough space to see the wheels of the car in front of you on the ground. Even when your car is not moving, intersections can be dangerous places for accidents.  
All drivers should be aware of their surroundings and have enough space and time to react in case something goes wrong in front of them. However, sometimes it’s impossible to prevent a car crash. You can be driving as safely as you can, but someone else’s negligence (47) ends up being the cause of the collision. 

Even if your accident seems relatively minor, it’s extremely important to seek immediate medical care. Your health is the most important thing after an accident as it is the most valuable asset damaged when you get in a car crash. If you don’t seek immediate medical care and you find out later down the road that you had unknown injuries, it may prevent you from getting any damages from the insurance company at all (71).

There are many myths about hiring a car accident lawyer and what your attorney can or can’t do. The simple trust is we are only here to help you down the road of recovery and maximize your recovery.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, give us a call. We offer free and friendly advice and case evaluations at no cost to you. We can be reached at (858) 812-2096, online via our form, and by email at dan@dhlawinc.com

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