How to Keep A Safe Distance When Stopped

In any kind of inclement weather, being able to stop safely behind another vehicle is a concern. However, keeping a safe distance between your vehicle and another is an important skill to practice year round. To do this, keep in mind some standard driving tips, such as not following too closely, slowing down and maintaining good brakes on your vehicle.

Steps

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    Stay back. Unless you're in a traffic jam, there isn't any need to "tailgate" or travel closely behind another vehicle's bumper. Keep a safe distance between you and the other vehicle by exercising the "3-second rule." Establish a landmark like a road sign or street lamp. When the vehicle passes the landmark, count slowly to yourself up to three. If your vehicle passes the landmark before you count to three, slow down. Of course, the time should increase if you're driving in inclement weather.
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    Slow down. By slowing down, you increase the distance and increase the time you have to react if you need to stop suddenly. That increased reaction time may allow you to avoid a rear-end collision or hitting a dog or other animal.
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    Keep an "out". When you stop behind a car or truck in traffic, do not stack up on their bumper like most people do. Look at the person behind you. Are they on your bumper? Now you're trapped. Make sure you can see the bottom of the tires on the road of the vehicle in front of you when you stop. This allows you enough room to get around that vehicle without having to back up by cutting your wheel hard right or left.
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    Take extra caution during inclement weather conditions. Ice, snow, sleet or rain can make a road's surface extremely slick and cause your brakes to work ineffectively. During bad weather, allow extra room, slow down and tentatively hit your brakes when it's time to stop.
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    Replace your brakes when they need it. Even if you're not mechanically inclined, your car will give you notice when your brakes need replacement. Listen for consistent squeaking noises when you press the brakes. This may indicate that your brakes are not completely worn out, but they will need replacement soon. If you hear a grinding or growling noise when you push on the brake pedal, it's time to replace your brakes immediately. Take your car to a mechanic or other auto repair specialist for new brakes.
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    Keep good tires on your vehicle. When you start to notice the tread is wearing or the tires seem to be wearing unevenly, rotate them or have them replaced. Good tires are essential for effective braking.
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    Pay attention. Sometimes just watching closer and observing the driver ahead of you can help you brake in time to leave a safe distance between you and him.

Article Info

Categories: Driving Techniques