If you have ever driven around a motorcyclist or been on one yourself, something that may stick out to you is when someone gets too close. If a vehicle so much as bumps the rider from behind, there is a risk that they could fall off the motorcycle or have injuries from the impact. Without a seat belt or other protections, the rider is always at risk in a collision.
It’s important for drivers to keep a proper distance between themselves. Motorcyclists and passenger-vehicle drivers alike can help keep each other safe by leaving at least three seconds of space between themselves while driving.
How can you count the distance between your vehicles?
One good way to figure out the distance and make sure you’re far enough apart is to find a fixed object. As soon as the person in front of you passes that fixed object, start counting. Once you reach three, note your distance. Maintain that distance.
This isn’t the perfect distance to stay behind someone, but it’s a good start. At the least, a three-second space gives you time to slow down and stop in an emergency. However, this space should grow larger depending on your speed.
One good rule of thumb is to keep at least one vehicle’s length between yourself and another vehicle for every 10 mph of speed. So, if you’re traveling 80 mph, there should be eight cars’ lengths between you. This may not always be possible due to other drivers’ behaviors and issues on the road, but if you attempt to keep at least three seconds of space between you, then you’re making good progress.
When you start to slow, maintain that distance and approach slowly. When you do come to a stop, maintain a vehicle’s distance between yourself and the next vehicle. That way, if you happen to get rear-ended, you’ll be less likely to hit the vehicle in front of you.