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  1. Tim Schewe says:

    And that 3/4 second is when you are paying attention and ready to take action. In real life it may be much longer!

    • safedriver says:

      I agree completely. Paying attention is the key to surviving behind the wheel. Without that key element, you become a huge risk to yourself and everyone else on the road. Driving is a complicated task on it’s own without adding to the risk of not paying attention to what you’re doing and what’s around you. Thanks for the comment Tim.

  2. jrharv says:

    You should add for trucks stay far enough back to see their mirror, as you cannot stop in time if you don’t.

  3. Mike Matheson says:

    Good column Scott. A big following distance has saved me more times than I can count. You and I chatted about something like this recently. We tell people that collisions can be prevented and they love to concoct some situation where a crash is inevitable and challenge us by saying “So what would you do in a case like that?”

    Unfortunately, my answer rarely satisfies them because I say, “I wouldn’t have gotten myself into that situation.” They think I am dodging the question, but I’m not. I would not be following another car half a second behind. I would not be boxed in. I would not be unobservant at an intersection.

    A better following distance would even save people who text and drive, since many of them would still be able to stop when they finally look up from their phone. I almost hate to say that because I don’t want to give texters a way to keep getting away with it … sigh.

  4. Lex says:

    These past 2 weeks in Toronto, there has been an increase in people tailgaiting me. And I have been driving at the speed limit or just above because of flow issues. For instance, I was driving on Rosedale Valley Road in Toronto, with my wife and siblings on our way to a wedding, and I got harassed by a Lamborghini driver.

    Rosedale Valley Road is a narrow 2-way road with room for only 2 1/2 car widths in total, there is a posted speed of 50 km/h, with a solid yellow line due to it being a quite a winding road with a curb, but no shoulder. In other words, no escape route. The Lambo tailgated me for a good 2 or 3 minutes, as he expected me to go faster. There was oncoming traffic, so he couldn’t pass (as if it was legal to do so, which it wasn’t). As soon as he thought he could get a gap, he revved his engine, and passed me, but cut very close in front of me. I got pretty rattled about that until the next intersection where there was an all-way stop, and I was still behind him. He saved a total of 30 seconds getting to that intersection. The next intersection had lights, he tried stopping just before the intersection so he could try to either make me block the intersecton or rear-end him. I was really close to calling the cops on him as I still remember his plate: “2ND WIFY”

    Funny how people in expensive cars tend to be the most reckless and uncaring of others.

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