Safe Following Distances and Road Safety

04 February 2020 | From Arrive Alive


Safe Following distances and road safety

The Dangers of Tailgating / Insufficient Following Distances

Most rear-end collisions are caused when drivers do not obey sufficient following distances. This is also known as Tailgating- often regarded as a form of aggressive driving behaviour. In South Africa, with the high prevalence of road rage, tailgating might contribute towards retaliation by other drivers and initiate instances of road rage.

Adequate following distances enable drivers to adjust in emergency situations and bring their vehicles to a stop safely - time that could mean the difference between life and death.

Total stopping distance involves the following:

Human perception time: The time required for a driver to recognise a potential hazard. This time is assumed to be approximately 0.75 seconds in normal situations

Human reaction time: Once the hazard has been perceived, the driver must respond by applying the brakes. The average reaction time is about 0.75 seconds

Vehicle reaction time: This is the time it takes for the vehicle to react once the brakes have been applied by the driver. Vehicle reaction time is very quick, usually assumed to be about 0.05 seconds.

Vehicle braking capability: This refers to the vehicle’s ability to come to a complete stop once the brakes have been applied

International studies have indicated that when a driver follows another vehicle at 100 kilometres per hour and the vehicle in front suddenly applies the brakes, the driver following will need about one and a half seconds to react. If there is not enough distance between the vehicles - the driver following would not be able to stop.

A driver should stay alert at all times as abrupt stopping could be caused by a variety of unforeseen events such as:

  • Debris on the road,
  • Pedestrians or stray animals,
  • Other drivers falling asleep, drunk drivers or drivers swerving across the road to evade hazards
  • Drivers being distracted, i.e. answering cellular telephone calls etc.


The 2-3 Second Rule:

Most International road safety campaigns refer to the “2" or "3" Second Rule” as a guideline for safe following distances. A point on the road is noted, 2-3 seconds are counted, and if that point is still visible then there's probably enough following distance.

This rule must be adjusted to 5-6 seconds when:

  • In adverse weather conditions
  • Driving on slippery roads
  • Driving at night
  • When following vehicles with different characteristics, i.e. motorcycles & trucks
  • When towing a trailer or other object

Also view:

Following Distances and Road Crashes

Share This Page

Tell a friend icon Tell a Friend | Fax machine icon Print this Page

News Articles

13 Aug 2020 | From Arrive Alive
A woman, believed to be in her 40s, was killed this morning when she was struck by a taxi on the N12 approximately 5km outside of Potchefstroom. ER24 paramedics arrived on the scene at 07h55 to find the taxi parked on the side of the road. The body of a woman in her 40s was found lying in front of
13 Aug 2020 | From Arrive Alive
This morning Kwazulu Private Ambulance Service responded to the N2 Bhobhoyi for reports of a collision. When emergency services arrived they found that a pedestrian had been knocked over by a vehicle. Paramedics quickly assessed the scene and found the pedestrian had sustained critical injuries. The
13 Aug 2020 | From Arrive Alive
Emer-G-Med responded to the corner of Malibongwe and Suikerbossie Street in North Riding for a multiple vehicle collision. On arrival, we treated and transported two patients with mild injuries to a nearby facility for further care. Local authorities were on scene for further investigations.
13 Aug 2020 | From Arrive Alive
The Central Gauteng Lions (CGL), Lions Cricket, POWA, Imperial and various Union partners hosted their official gender-based violence media launch campaign under the theme #JoinTheChargeAgainstFemicide. The launch was held virtually via Microsoft Teams. Romy Titus as the host was joined by the CGL
13 Aug 2020 | Department of Transport
The Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula will on Thursday morning join road traffic law enforcement operations across Gauteng. The Minister will join ongoing operations to monitor and check compliance with government regulations and directions as the country remains under level 3 lockdown of the
12 Aug 2020 | From Arrive Alive
A 40-year-old pedestrian was injured after he was run over by a Toyota Quantum on Moss Street in the Verulam CBD. Reaction Unit South Africa (RUSA) was contacted by a passerby requesting assistance for the injured man. On arrival, he was found to have suffered moderate injuries. It is alleged that
12 Aug 2020 | Road Safety Highlights
Empowered women, empower women. Imperial empowers women to learn and grow. Take part in the #MovingWomenForward social media challenge this month! Post your I MOVE story onto Facebook status using #MovingWomenForward Nominate at least 2 colleagues and a friend to take up the challenge by
11 Aug 2020 | From Arrive Alive
Emer-G-Med responded to the Coen Scholtz community Center for the library building that was burning. Fortunately no injuries on scene. Local authorities were on the scene for investigations.
11 Aug 2020 | From Arrive Alive
Four people were left injured this morning when the taxi they were travelling in crashed into a tree off Meyer Street in Germiston. ER24 paramedics, along with another service, arrived on the scene at 08h15 to find the taxi parked on the side of the road. Several people were seen walking around the

News Archive

Home  |  
Contact  |  
Browser  |  
Disclaimer  |  
CMS  |  
© 2020 - All Rights Reserved www.arrivealive.co.za