The two second rule.
Do you remember the two second rule?
The Tennessee Department of Safety recommends that you stay at least two seconds behind the traffic in front of you.1 You measure this by finding a stationary object in front of the vehicle ahead of you, waiting until that vehicle passes the object, and counting the seconds it takes for your vehicle to reach that object. If you reach the object in less than two seconds, you are following too close.
Why is this important?
Practicing the two second rule helps you ensure that there is enough distance between you and the traffic ahead of you in case of a sudden stop or other emergency. You need that distance (and even more in inclement weather) because stopping takes longer than you think.
At highway speeds, 100 yards of roadway only lasts a few seconds. Assuming that you see the obstacle with a few extra seconds to spare, it still takes a moment for you to perceive2 the obstacle and react.3 Even after you apply the brakes, it still takes more time & space for your vehicle to actually come to a complete stop.4 By the time you do, it could be too late.
So, the next time you’re driving, take a moment to practice the two second rule. It could make all the difference.
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*Attorney Stombaugh focuses his practice on motor vehicle collisions and commercial truck wrecks. If you or a loved one has been involved in a wreck with injuries, contact our office as soon as possible – we are here to help.
2 The Tennessee CDL Manual refers to this as “perception distance” or “the distance your vehicle travels, in ideal conditions; from the time your eye see a hazard until your brain recognizes it.” (TN CDL Manual 2-14)
3 The Tennessee CDL Manual refers to this as “reaction distance” or “the distance you will continue to travel, in ideal conditions; before you hit the brakes, in response to a hazard seen ahead.” (TN CDL Manual 2-14)
4 The Tennessee CDL Manual refers to this as “braking distance” or “the distance your vehicle will travel, in ideal conditions; while you are braking.” (TN CDL Manual 2-14)