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Road Safety tips

Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is calling on drivers to try out the ‘two-second rule’ and ensure they’re not putting lives at risk by tailgating. The advice comes amid concern that too many motorists are simply unaware of the distance they need to stop safely in an emergency.

“Drivers regularly place being tailgated up there at the top of the list of annoying, unpleasant and dangerous things they experience on the road,” he says.

“Imagine a sudden problem ahead of you on a motorway or dual carriageway. According to the Highway Code, if you're driving at 70mph you will need a minimum of 96 metres to come to a stop. This relies on your being alert and able to react immediately to the problem you’ve spotted ahead. Any sort of distraction will compromise that ability, meaning you will continue driving towards the problem at more than 60 metres per second.

“The two-second rule is a great guide, and it works because it’s time-based, not distance-based. There’s flexibility that matches your speed, so it doesn’t mean carrying a spreadsheet of distances and speeds around in your head. You should note as the vehicle in front passes a fixed point, such as a tree or lamp-post. Then you say ‘Only a fool breaks the two-second rule.’ If you are still speaking when you pass the same fixed point, then you are following too close.

Stay safe with these tips:

  • Try out the two-second rule on any journey.
  • In wet weather, two seconds needs to be come four seconds. This is because reduced visibility means spotting hazards is harder, and tyres have less grip on wet roads, meaning it takes longer to stop.
  • Don’t assume that different rules apply to drivers of modern cars with fantastic brakes. Effective braking – and doing it early enough - still relies on observant, alert drivers.
  • Check your driver seating position to ensure you can brake hard if you suddenly need to. This can be compromised if your seat is positioned too far forward, or too far back.
  • Make a habit of observing what’s going on beyond the vehicle in front. Seeing the possible problems well ahead means fewer nasty surprises.
  • If you’re concerned that someone is following you too closely, then leave plenty of extra room ahead of you so that you can lose speed gradually if you need to. Let them pass when it's safe, so that their presence behind you doesn’t turn into a risky distraction.

Do you know your stopping distances?
Use the table on the left and have a go

TD= Thinking distance
BD= Breaking distance
OSD = Overall stopping distance

Scroll down for the answers

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Posted on 7th June 2017 at 2:40 PM

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