What’s your reason?
We all do things for a reason. Well; we’re at least supposed to do things for a reason. Maybe even a good reason. Growing up, my dad used to say that if we didn’t have a good enough reason for doing something we shouldn’t do it. Good advice that I share with my kids to this day. Do we use the same advice while we’re driving?
Take a look at the second vehicle in this photo. They stopped a little too close to the driver ahead of them. If the lead driver rolled back slightly if they were driving a standard transmission vehicle and stopped on an uphill grade, the second vehicle would get hit. Why put your vehicle at that type of risk? I’m sure the damage would be minimal, but the frustration and aggravation would be huge.
I once had a student whose friend’s mom was a driving instructor, but at a different driving school to where I worked. She asked her friend’s mom when she was supposed to stop her vehicle when she was coming up to another vehicle that was already stopped at a red light. The mom looked at her funny and said; “Before you hit them.” Sound advice from a driving professional, don’t you think? I’m pretty sure most drivers could have come up with that one on their own.
When I learned to drive so many years ago, I was taught to be able to see the wheels of the vehicle in front of me touch the road. Looking over the hood and seeing the wheels of the vehicle ahead of us touch the ground would roughly be one vehicle length. That was fine when we could actually see the hood of the vehicle we were driving, but with so many aerodynamic vehicles in today’s market, we can’t see the hood any longer. If we still tried to use that technique today, we would be less than half a vehicle length from the stopped vehicle in front of us; almost like this photo.
Leaving a minimum of one vehicle length would allow you to avoid the roll back hit from the lead driver, or perhaps avoid getting you boxed in if they stall when the light turns green. The vehicle length gives you room to drive around the stalled vehicle. It may also provide enough room to perhaps get out of the way of a potential rear crash. I’ve written in the past about how you can avoid being in a rear crash, http://bit.ly/aSDghl. The driver of the second vehicle has no hope of avoiding a potential rear crash here. If you’re feeling enough peer pressure to not try that technique to avoid a rear crash, at least leave enough space to avoid the roll back or box you in if they stall when the light turns green. You’ve got absolutely nothing to lose.
Stopping as close to the lead vehicle as this driver did in the photo doesn’t get you home any sooner. However, it can get you annoyed a lot sooner.