Following too closely is actually the cause of 5% of large-truck crashes, according to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study. These are situations when one vehicle is following another vehicle so closely that even if the driver is attentive to the vehicle ahead of them, they couldn’t avoid colliding in the even of a sudden stop.
Staying a reasonable distance behind another vehicle not only provides enough stopping time, but it can also allow for more time to make well thought out decisions. We have two big tips for you that can help you maintain a good following distance during different conditions.
Always maintain a safe distance.
As you know, it takes a longer time for a large truck to stop after applying the brakes than a standard, passenger vehicle. You’re going to need additional space between yourself and other vehicles to safely brake or carry out any other unexpected actions.
Did you know that if you’re driving below 40 MPH, it’s recommended that you leave at least 1 second for every 10 feet of vehicle length? Leave an additional second for every foot if you’re traveling over 40 MPH.
Double up in adverse conditions.
We all know that factors like weather, road conditions, traffic, and visibility can play a major role in how we approach driving. Any distance you typically keep from other vehicles, double it when things get adverse. If you need to stop suddenly or take evasive action because of road conditions or other drivers, you’ll have a safe distance ahead of you to do so.
Don’t forget: your braking distance changes with the road conditions. If there’s rain, snow, or ice on the road use extra caution and brake as safely as possible.
Don’t let a poor following distance get the best of you. Always use your best judgement, common sense, and training in addition to these tips. Check out our other blog posts to find more useful tips and tricks for truckers!