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  • Legal Distance Following a vehicle

    Good Morning,

    My boyfriend and I have had a discussion that has popped up a couple of times. I tried looking in the driver manual for the correct answer and it has safety tips.
    He states that he feels I follow too close to behind other vehicles. I always try to give at least one full car length as that is how I was taught. In looking in the driving manual it gives no real clear clarification as to what is too close. As a safety tip it offers the three second rule.
    Can anyone offer me the right answer?

    Thank you

  • #2
    My state law doesn't have an actual distance. Just have to drive with due regard for speed and traffic. One car length isn't enough.
    Where'd you learn that, Cheech? Drug school?

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    • #3
      The right answer? Far enough that if the guy in front of you slams on brakes, full bore, you won't rear end him. one car length is perfect...if your going 5mph. In Va the code section is 46.2-880. Excerpt...


      Miles Feet Automobile Brakes on Reaction Time
      Per Per Brakes All Wheels (1.5 Seconds) Automobiles Trucks
      Hour Second (In Feet) (In Feet) (In Feet) (In Feet) (In Feet)

      55 80.7 144 192 121 265 313


      As you can see if you travel 55mph the average driver and car will take dam near a football field to stop. At one car length I doubt you would even get your foot on your brake pedal before you hit the guy. If you plan to continue to follow one car length you might want to get additional insurance coverage cause you're a wreck waiting to happen and lawsuits ain't cheap. I have worked some wrecks that I believe, but couldn't prove, that the guy in front was just ****ed he was being followed too close and slamed brakes for the hell of it. He "said" something ran in front of his car. Maybe, but my gut told me different. Other driver gets screwed...

      Better yet, just backoff some and live longer and unhurt, save the hassle and money of car repairs, and lawsuits, insurance rate hikes and guilt if someone is seriously hurt....please...I'm tired of working dumb wrecks.

      Edit- alright the table looked good until I posted it.

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      • #4
        You come through my jurisdiction following a car, and you are only one car length behind him, I will issue you a cite for following to close.

        Play it safe, no less than three car lengths, depending on speed.

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        • #5
          The accepted rule of thumb is said to be either:

          One car length for every ten miles per hour of speed; or, three seconds behind the vehicle ahead. These distances may have to be adjusted for the weather, traffic, roadway surface and conditions, pedestrian traffic, etc.

          Obvously, the distance you quoted is fine for 5 MPH of speed. But, at 65 MPH you would become an integral part of the lead vehicle in an emergency.
          Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

          [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

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          • #6
            2 - 3 seconds behind the vehicle at minimum. If other issues arise, such as inclement weather, stay farther back.
            I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

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            • #7
              Originally posted by LAChief View Post
              You come through my jurisdiction following a car, and you are only one car length behind him, I will issue you a cite for following to close.

              Play it safe, no less than three car lengths, depending on speed.
              X2

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              • #8
                X3......you actually are 1 car length when youre at 70 mph on the highway....that could get you shot around here
                "I don't go on "I'maworthlesscumdumpster.com" and post negative **** about cum dumpsters."
                The Tick

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                sanitizer

                "and we all know you are a poser and a p*ssy.... "
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                • #9
                  The general rule is one car length for every 10 mph.
                  I have the heart of a child..................................No really, it is in a jar on my desk.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by missconner View Post
                    Good Morning,

                    My boyfriend and I have had a discussion that has popped up a couple of times. I tried looking in the driver manual for the correct answer and it has safety tips.
                    He states that he feels I follow too close to behind other vehicles. I always try to give at least one full car length as that is how I was taught. In looking in the driving manual it gives no real clear clarification as to what is too close. As a safety tip it offers the three second rule.
                    Can anyone offer me the right answer?

                    Thank you
                    Three seconds is good. I am not aware of a law in any state giving a set distance. How the law works is if you are following someone where a reasonable and prudent person in the same set of circumstances would feel is unsafe then it is too close. Also if you rear end someone you were obviously too close.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PRESSHRD5COPIES View Post
                      The general rule is one car length for every 10 mph.
                      It's a bad rule and the higher the speed it doesn't give you enough distance to truly stop in time.

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                      • #12
                        As others have previously indicated, use a disatance based on time it takes to travel the gap behind another vehicle. It is easier to judge a distance based on a time interval than to judge the distance by using car lengths. I use a minimum of a 2 second gap when driving in dry conditions and increase it to at least 3 seconds when the road is wet.
                        If at first you don't succeed, remove all evidence of your attempt.

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                        • #13
                          Our says "reasonable and prudent", which means the nice officer gets to decide if you are following too close! Of course he will have to articulate in court why he decided that. Seriously, use the 3 second rule. If everyone would just be 2 seconds behind the car in front of them, rear end accidents would probably be cut in half.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by missconner View Post
                            Good Morning,

                            My boyfriend and I have had a discussion that has popped up a couple of times. I tried looking in the driver manual for the correct answer and it has safety tips.
                            He states that he feels I follow too close to behind other vehicles. I always try to give at least one full car length as that is how I was taught. In looking in the driving manual it gives no real clear clarification as to what is too close. As a safety tip it offers the three second rule.
                            Can anyone offer me the right answer?

                            Thank you
                            Va doesn't really have specific time or space measurments..normally following too closely" comes after a rear end crash has already occurred and the proof is in the end result.
                            Having said that, I haver written plenty of tickets for following too closely on observing others tailgate.
                            Use the two second rule on less than 55mph and three on 55 and above and you should never have a problem.
                            "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The MARINES don't have that problem." ....Ronald Reagan

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