Most car owners have the habit of tailgating like they never heard of the ‘three-second rule’. If you fall into that category, be aware as your putting your windshield at great risk. If you do follow too close, you need to break that habit. The goal is to be able to stop your car in time and keep yourself, your passengers and your car unharmed.
Driving too closely not only puts you at risk but other drivers too as they need to be in a constant precarious position. Aside from being able to prevent you from crashing into the car in front of you, here are some other reasons why you should keep your car away from the others on a safe distance.
Auto glass and windshield can be damaged by road debris
While driving, your car’s rear wheels kick up road debris and dirt. Some of the debris is quite small, but it can also be bigger like pebbles or smaller rocks. Regardless of the size, road debris can cause real damage to a windshield. So when you’re following another car too closely, the debris kicked up by the car in front of you ends up on your windshield. The danger of road debris to your windshield is greater when your cruising at motorways/highways. You’re driving at a much higher speed and you don’t have the same maneuverability over your car like you do when driving in town, so escaping road debris is nearly impossible.
Not being able to see far enough
When following too closely you don’t have a good view out of the road in front of you. The driver in the car in front sees every bump, pothole, etc. but not you. Yes, you may think what is the relevance of potholes to windshield damage. If your windshield is intact and in good condition, it’s very unlikely that hitting a pothole will do damage to your windshield. However, if your windshield already has some cracks and chips on it, the impact when you hit the pothole with your wheel can be damaging. It’s basic physics. The force from the impact gets transferred (in full or reduced thanks to good suspension) to other parts if your car, windshield included. Smaller cracks or dents can become bigger ones and you might end up needing a windshield replacement. In order to avoid this, leave a good enough distance between your car and the car in front of you. Then you will be able to spot the potholes or bumps on the road and avoid them.
What is the safe driving distance?
You’ve all heard that driving too close is dangerous and that you should keep a ‘safe driving distance’ but very few know how to determine that distance. If you want to avoid having to replace/repair your windshield, we recommend using the ‘three-second rule’. And here are some basic tips on how to ‘calculate’ the safe driving distance:
While driving chose a fixed point ahead of you. It can be a sign, landmark, post whatever. Just make sure that the ‘fixed point’ is far away enough – a few hundred feet at least.
Once the car in front of you reaches that ‘fixed point’, start counting. We recommend using the one-one-thousand method.
When your vehicle reaches the same ‘fixed’ point, stop counting. If you ended with a number of seconds less than three, you should slow down and increase the distance between you and the car in front of you.
The three-second rule is a great way to calculate and set the ‘safe driving distance’ because it takes into consideration your driving speed and reaction time. According to some studies, three seconds are enough to safely stop the car.
However, when the roads are wet or icy, you should increase your distance even further because the added moisture on the road (rain or ice) reduces the friction between the road and your tires and it will take you longer to stop your car.
Forgetting about the three-second rule will most likely result in having to replace your windshield or even worse. You might not be able to stop your car on time.