How long is the proper following distance?

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Have you ever felt like the car behind you was just driving too close to your vehicle to be safe? You’re probably right. Tailgating is a very common problem on the roads in the United States and it can lead to serious car accidents.

One reason that people tailgated is simply that they don’t know how far back they should even be driving in the first place. They may be completely oblivious to the danger that they themselves are creating. Understanding a proper following distance may help to keep people safe.

The three-second rule

It’s actually very easy to make sure that you’re not tailgating when you drive. You just have to follow the three-second rule and count off three seconds between your car and the next vehicle.

People will sometimes talk about a certain number of car lengths or a certain physical distance that you need to keep between vehicles. This can work in some situations, but the problem is that highways with higher speeds require longer following distances. If you simply think about the actual distance itself, you may be too close in some scenarios – such as on the interstate, driving at 70 miles per hour – but staying three seconds back at any speed means that you always have enough distance.

The injuries tailgating can cause

Tailgating is very common and car accidents are one of the most common ways that people in the United States get injured every year. Some of the more severe injuries that you could encounter if you get rear-ended by another vehicle include:

  1. Traumatic brain injuries
  2. Skull fractures
  3. Internal bleeding
  4. Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  5. Torn ligaments
  6. Chest, lung and heart injuries


The severity of the injuries depends on a lot of different factors, such as the speed of the accident or the size of the vehicles involved. But it is certainly possible to suffer such severe injuries from a tailgater that your life is changed forever in a split second.

What can you do?

Using the three-second rule, you can make sure that you never tailgate anyone, but you can certainly be injured by one of the many other drivers on the road. These injuries could lead to life-altering changes, lost wages and incredibly high medical bills. If this happens to you, make sure you know how to seek financial compensation.