Woodalls Open Roads Forum: The two (?) second rule...Something to think about
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 > The two (?) second rule...Something to think about

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Desert Captain

Tucson

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Posted: 02/11/13 08:59am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Second only to excessive speed following distance or rather the lack thereof tops the list of dangerous driving. In a recent thread following distance was mentioned and the old "one car length for each 10 miles per hour" was suggested. There are a couple of problems with that rule, first of all it is about 60 years old, secondly most folks do a very poor job of judging specific distances like car lengths. What is a car length anyway? My F-150 is 22.5' and my brides Toyota is 16'. Guesstimating the difference between say 80' and 120' is going to fall short of being accurate for most of us.

A much better method of creating the proper following distance is the 2 second rule (Google it). Your following distance should be sufficient that you have 2 full seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you. It is very easy to accurately judge, simply watch the vehicle in front and start your 2 second count when they pass a fixed object like a signpost, crosswalk, or a shadow across the lane. If you get to that marker in less than two seconds you need more following distance. One suggestion is to recite "Only a fool breaks the 2 second rule" which in a normal speaking voice takes 2 seconds to say.

Now the 2 second rule is for conventional vehicles traveling on dry pavement. If it is raining the rule becomes the 4 second rule and the presence of ice or snow kicks it up to 6. When towing I make it the 3 second rule (5 in the rain etc). It is pretty hard from a safety standpoint to have too much following distance so long as you are not holding up the normal traffic flow and the 2 second rule makes it very easy for anyone to effectively assure themselves sufficient following distance to respond in an emergency.

As always...Opinions and YMMV as when you get free advice you get what you paid for.

SRT

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Posted: 02/11/13 09:06am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Desert Captain wrote:

Second only to excessive speed following distance or rather the lack thereof tops the list of dangerous driving. In a recent thread following distance was mentioned and the old "one car length for each 10 miles per hour" was suggested. There are a couple of problems with that rule, first of all it is about 60 years old, secondly most folks do a very poor job of judging specific distances like car lengths. What is a car length anyway? My F-150 is 22.5' and my brides Toyota is 16'. Guesstimating the difference between say 80' and 120' is going to fall short of being accurate for most of us.

A much better method of creating the proper following distance is the 2 second rule (Google it). Your following distance should be sufficient that you have 2 full seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you. It is very easy to accurately judge, simply watch the vehicle in front and start your 2 second count when they pass a fixed object like a signpost, crosswalk, or a shadow across the lane. If you get to that marker in less than two seconds you need more following distance. One suggestion is to recite "Only a fool breaks the 2 second rule" which in a normal speaking voice takes 2 seconds to say.

Now the 2 second rule is for conventional vehicles traveling on dry pavement. If it is raining the rule becomes the 4 second rule and the presence of ice or snow kicks it up to 6. When towing I make it the 3 second rule (5 in the rain etc). It is pretty hard from a safety standpoint to have too much following distance so long as you are not holding up the normal traffic flow and the 2 second rule makes it very easy for anyone to effectively assure themselves sufficient following distance to respond in an emergency.

As always...Opinions and YMMV as when you get free advice you get what you paid for.


The 2 second rule only works for cars/pickups not towing anything. I try to triple (6 seconds) that when driving the motor home. But then when driving the motor home try to stay out of rush hour type traffic.

LynnandCarol

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Posted: 02/11/13 09:06am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Common Sense rules and these should be the Rules of the road. As we all know with towing, it takes longer to stop. In addition, there are many, many idiots out there that have no idea that it will take us longer to stop as the whip in to your lane and your planned stopping distance suddenly goes to all "hope".

troll3193

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Posted: 02/11/13 09:07am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

my kids went through drivers training from a guy who was a safety mgr for UPS... He taught them 3-4 seconds on secondary roads and 6-8 seconds at highway speed.

I was also taught 4-5 seconds ages ago when I went to drivers ed and still use it today..

Bryan


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WoodGlue

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Posted: 02/11/13 09:14am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The average car travels 80.3 feet per second

Average car length is 17 feet

The average response time is 1.5 seconds

This means that your vehicle will have traveled almost 5 car lengths (85 feet) before you can react to what is in front of you!

There is something to think about. Physics wasn't made up yesterday!

Although the 2 second rule may be valid, so is the statement above.

Add into that, towing a 30 foot trailer, and well, I shouldn't have to explain that!

WoodGlue

accsys

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Posted: 02/11/13 09:15am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

LynnandCarol wrote:

Common Sense rules and these should be the Rules of the road. As we all know with towing, it takes longer to stop. In addition, there are many, many idiots out there that have no idea that it will take us longer to stop as the whip in to your lane and your planned stopping distance suddenly goes to all "hope".

Actually Common Sense ain't so common any more - really becoming very rare in today's world.


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downtheroad

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Posted: 02/11/13 09:25am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator




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M GO BLUE

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Posted: 02/11/13 09:28am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

How about we all just start using COMMON SENSE when driving?????




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Rollnhome

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Posted: 02/11/13 09:29am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice in theory, but every time I leave a space between myself and the car in front of me. As many cars as possible pass me and fill that space. So if I keep allowing more space between those cars I'd never get out of town


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tommyznr

NR, WI

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Posted: 02/11/13 09:45am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

WoodGlue wrote:

The average car travels 80.3 feet per second

Average car length is 17 feet

The average response time is 1.5 seconds

This means that your vehicle will have traveled almost 5 car lengths (85 feet) before you can react to what is in front of you!

There is something to think about. Physics wasn't made up yesterday!

Although the 2 second rule may be valid, so is the statement above.

Add into that, towing a 30 foot trailer, and well, I shouldn't have to explain that!

WoodGlue


I don’t want to sound like I am arguing against the 2 second (or any other) rule for following distance.

However, there is more to the equation than has been presented. Except maybe on the rare occasion when the car in front hits a brick wall at the same time he applies his brakes.

How do I know? I drive about 60 miles round trip daily to and from down town St. Paul to the rolling countryside of Wisconsin. I see brake lights ahead at 65 miles per hour on a near daily basis. I doubt if I see more than half a dozen accidents a year and very rarely see more than 2 vehicles involved including horribly icy roads like today.


Tom

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