I wrote this post over three years ago. The tone is ranty – no doubt I wrote it after some incident on the roads – but sadly the topic is still on point. Arrive Alive recommends a 2 – 3 second following distance as the bare minimum, increasing to at least 5 – 6 seconds during adverse road conditions when it rains.
I don’t think they realise that I would never make it home on time if I allowed that following distance. Certainly not in traffic – if you are not literally on the bumper of the car in front of you at all times, someone is going to turn their car into the 1/2 car gap you’ve left and force themselves in.
Even under “normal” road traffic conditions, it is unsafe to allow this following distance, particularly at off-ramps. As you are indicating and turning onto the off-ramp, someone is going to come from the fast lane, cross the solid barrier line and chip in next to you on the off-ramp. He (because without a shadow of a doubt, it will be a he) will probably have his indicator on though, because that seems to be the only time people use their indicators anymore.
We’re supposed to report bad driving because traffic officers can’t be everywhere. The other day, I watched a traffic cop sitting in his car, waiting two cars behind a taxi that had stopped in the left lane to pick up passengers. Why didn’t the traffic cop get out of his car and reprimand the driver for obstructing traffic?
- Afraid the taxi driver would shoot him?
- Scared the passengers would shout out the windows at him for making them late?
- Terrified that other drivers would get irritated that he was adding to the road obstruction?
- Filled with apathy and laziness?