Safe distance while driving saves lives

Readers have often seen us write about the perils of texting and driving and drinking and driving. But there’s another common practice that’s putting drivers at risk. That’s the habit of motorists following the car in front of them too closely.

It’s a deadly habit. The Ohio highway Patrol reports that in 2012, following too closely resulted in 65,580 crashes. The patrol reports 58 people were killed and another 18,552 were injured.

It’s dangerous to follow too closely at the high rate of speed many cars are traveling. Ohio law says drivers should stay one car-length behind the vehicle in front of them, allowing some space should a hazard or incident occur. According to the patrol, if a vehicle is traveling 65 mph, its traveling about 95 feet per second. That means a vehicle can travel nearly the length of a football field in about three seconds.

Driving too closely gives you too little time to react and it diminishes your ability to see the ‘big picture.’ The patrol reminds motorists that we must be aware of our surroundings at all times. It’s also important to be able to see ahead down the roadway so to better react to anything that might happen.

As the summer travel season gears up, please remember to add allowing a safe distance between you and the car in front of you to your vehicle safety checklist.