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Here’s an Essential Guide to Following Distance

Spatial and temporal margins are essential. Not only do you need to let enough space between you and other vehicles, but you also need to be far enough behind in traffic so that you can see hazards, consider your options, and react accordingly. While following the vehicle ahead of you, you may run out of time to respond if you drive too close to them.

Measuring Your Following Distance

Generally, the right following distance can be found by choosing an object by the road to use as your reference point. This could be anything like a sign, lamp post, fire hydrant, and such. When the vehicle ahead of you passes by the object, begin the counting per second. You’ll know if you’re too close if you reach the object before you reach the recommended number of seconds.

Observing Ample Following Distance in Different Conditions

You should keep a two-second distance between you and the car in front of you in good weather, on clear roads, and when everyone’s going the speed limit. If you’re on a high-speed road like a freeway or a highway, this should be increased to a minimum of three seconds.  When conditions are less than ideal, such as during a storm or when you’re driving on a compromised road, it is best to leave a minimum of four seconds between you and the vehicle ahead of you.

Comparing Guidelines Between Motorcycles and Semi-Trucks

As a motorcycle driver, it is important to stay well ahead of vehicles. Since you’re on a smaller vehicle, it may be easy to go unseen by other drivers, especially when they’re distracted. Keeping your distance helps avoid being hidden in the blind spot of the vehicle’s rear right side. This will help ensure your safety and that of those around you. When you are a semi-truck driver, on the other hand, you should stay well-behind vehicles. Doing so gives you time to brake when they stop suddenly. While passenger vehicles and light truck drivers abide by a general minimum of two seconds distance when following others, semi-trucks, buses, and other large, heavy vehicles need to comply with a minimum of five seconds.

Practice Driving Defensively

If someone is following too closely, the best thing to do is slow down slightly to increase the space in front of you. This will give you room to stop gradually if the need arises, and it actually decreases your chances of being hit by the tailgater. If they are being particularly annoying, you can change lanes to let them pass or pull over altogether to allow them to overtake you. Stay safe by not speeding up or giving in to the tailgater, and always keep your own following distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you.


Driving defensively is a strategy that will help keep you and everyone else safe. By staying a safe distance behind vehicles in front of you, you will be able to decrease your chances of getting in an accident or being a part of one. You can also use this time to scan the road and your surroundings, helping you avoid any hazards that you may encounter. When driving defensively, you always have time to react to any unexpected changes. New to driving? Take car lessons in Langley to improve your skills. Learn at your own pace with the help of our skilled team of instructors who will equip you with the necessary knowledge to ensure road safety. Schedule an appointment today!