THE DANGER OF FOLLOWING TOO CLOSE
Too many drivers follow too close to the vehicles ahead of them. This leads to serious,
even fatal consequences. Here is why no driver should ever follow too close:
- YOU CAN'T STOP IN TIME TO AVOID AN ACCIDENT: If the car ahead has
to stop suddenly, a rear-end accident is unavoidable.
- YOU CAN'T PERFECTLY PREDICT THE ACTIONS OF OTHERS: Drivers can do
anything at any time. You need room to avoid their mistakes.
- ANYTHING CAN GO WRONG: A crate can fall off of a truck, a rear axle
can lock up, or a child might run into the street. You need room to stop.
- YOU COULD KILL A CHILD YOU NEVER SAW: A child runs out into the
street from between two parked cars. The driver ahead stops just in time to miss the
child. You slide into him, and his car is pushed into hitting the child, with fatal
- IT SLOWS OTHER DRIVERS DOWN: The only defense available to a safe
driver, when a vehicle is following too close, is to slow down. The closer you get, the
slower he will go. Turning your bright headlights on will just make it harder for him to
see, slowing him down more.
- IT IS EXTREMELY RUDE: You are effectively trying to command another
driver to do something unsafe. He won't do it, and will likely get mad at you for endangering
- IT'S ILLEGAL: Following too close is illegal. An easy way to satisfy
almost all state laws is to stay two seconds back, or three seconds back at speeds over 40
miles per hour. To do this, notice when the vehicle ahead passes a roadside object. Count off
"One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three" at normal talking speed. If you
pass the object before you say "two" (or "three" at speeds over 40 miles per hour), you
are too close. In addition, semis in the same lane must stay at least 300 feet apart in
Indiana. That's 5 semis long.