Here are some AAA tips on how to manage your driving space. You may want to pass this advice along to fleet drivers as a friendly reminder.
- Pay attention. The primary attribute necessary for safer driving is alertness. This allows you to see, recognize and avoid the unexpected hazards lurking on the road.
- Allow enough space ahead. About 30 percent of crashes involve rear-end collisions. Many of these could be avoided by following at a safe distance. Allow at least three seconds between your vehicle and the car ahead of you. At highway speeds, lengthen the gap to four seconds or more. (The 2-3 second rule of decades past has been updated to the 3-4 second rule.) If you’re driving in the rain or poor weather conditions, lengthen that gap to six or more seconds. Also, you may need to adjust for vehicle weight, a major factor in how long the vehicle takes to stop. The heavier the vehicle, the longer it takes to stop.
- Look ahead. Scan the road and surrounding area at least 20 to 30 seconds ahead for potential road hazards, conditions and information that can help you plan a clear path to travel. Look around and keep your eyes open for approaching vehicles, pedestrians or animals that might enter your path.
- Have an escape route. The best way to avoid potential dangers is to position your vehicle where you have the best chance of seeing and being seen. Check your mirrors every few seconds to see what is beside you and what is behind you. You need to have an alternate path of travel, taking into consideration the position of the vehicles around you and the road ahead. That’s crucial for deciding where you can maneuver safely to avoid a crash. If the road is narrow and lacking a shoulder, increase your following distance.
To view “Managing Space and Time for Safe Driving,” a video produced by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, click on the photo or link below the headline.