Safe Following Distance
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The 3 Second Rule

Following another car too closely is a common mistake made by teens and new drivers. You may remember the three-second rule for following distance from when you learned to drive. It’s still a good guideline to teach your teen. Here’s a refresher course:

How to keep a safe following distance

Watch the vehicle in front of you pass an object and then count the time (one thousand one, one thousand two and one thousand three) it takes for you to reach that object. If you’re closer than 3 seconds, then back off slightly to reach a three-second following distance.

If you’re traveling at speeds over 30 mph, in heavy traffic, bad weather, or following a motorcycle, truck or bus, try to maintain a following distance of 4 seconds or more.

It's important that your teen remember that the 3-second rule and 4-second rule are just guidelines. It’s up to the driver to use their best judgment to decide when more space is needed.

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