Space Management System Cont'd

Following Distance

Now, you can assess the changing risks every driver faces when traveling the roadways.  You understand how to manage your lane position within zones both to maintain safety as well as to keep traffic moving.  You understand that you must constantly reposition yourself –speeding up, braking, slowing down, in order to maintain necessary space cushion and avoid an accident.  Fortunately, this is not as random and nerve-wracking as you may think. There is a method you can use to calculate  following distance so you can reduce risk of incident or serious accident.

Following distance is the amount of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. While you have little control over the space behind you, or even to the sides, you have the greatest control of the space directly in front of you. You can determine spacing by using a simple method.

You can measure your following distance in this way:

Look at the vehicle in front of you. Now, choose a fixed place some distance ahead, like a sign, building, or even a large tree. Wait until the rear of the vehicle in front of you passes that fixed object you have chosen.  Immediately, begin counting. We know that by saying “one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two…” or “one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi…,” at normal conversational speed is equivalent to one-second.  When your vehicle arrives at or passes by the fixed place the vehicle in front of you passed, you stop counting.  How many seconds elapsed? If that number is 3, 4, or 7, for example, how do you know if it is an adequate space cushion?  Fortunately, you get to benefit from mistakes other drivers have made.

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