Turning Left? There’s a Blinker for That

No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.

Today’s Three Seconds: Signals: The Unsung Hero of the Highways

3 Second StopSignal Lamps, when used properly, tell other drivers that you plan to turn or to change lanes. Use your signals at least 100 feet prior to making a turn and activate your turn signal at least 5 seconds before changing lanes to allow other drivers to adjust their actions accordingly. When you are turning at an intersection, be very careful not to signal too early if there are other places to turn before the intersection. Another driver may think you intend to turn somewhere else, and could pull out in front of you.

Following Distance

Three-Second Rule

Allowing yourself proper following distance between your car and the car ahead of you can be difficult to visually estimate. A good way to gauge a suitable gap is to use the “Three-Second Rule.” Here’s how it works: when the car or truck in front of you crosses a certain fixed object on the side of the road (like a sign or tree), start counting, “one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three.” You should not cross that same point for three seconds. Under normal conditions it takes about 2-3 seconds to completely stop when traveling at speeds between 35 mph to 65 mph; so with a three-second space cushion, you should have enough time to react and brake when something happens up ahead.

Sometimes you may need to add additional space to the following distance calculation. Here are some scenarios where extra room is required and you should allow for a following distance of four or more seconds:

  • If the road or weather conditions are bad. For example, braking distance doubles on a wet road.
  • If you are being tailgated. If a driver is following too closely you should slow down and increase your following distance so that you will have more time to react if the car in front of you is forced to suddenly stop.
  • If you are towing a trailer or have additional weight in your vehicle. The added weight will increase your vehicle’s stopping distance.
  • If you are following a motorcycle. A motorcycle can stop quicker than a car. Give yourself extra space in front of your vehicle so you have adequate time to stop.
  • If your vision is blocked or visibility is poor. When your view ahead is blocked, for instance when you are behind an 18-wheeler or large van, you will have less of an idea of hazards further down the road. Leave yourself more space to increase your reaction time.

Intersection Etiquette

No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.

Today’s Three Seconds: Gridlock

3 Second StopDriving in the city has many hazards including traffic. Heavy traffic can lead to gridlocked intersections. As frustrating and tedious as it is to have a green light and no room to move, remember that legally you cannot enter an intersection if you are not able to completely cross before the light turns red. In other words, being stopped in an intersection is a big no-no. The best thing to do in this situation is stay calm and wait your turn safely behind the crosswalk.

Too Close for Comfort

No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.

Today’s Three Seconds: Tailgating

3 Second StopTailgating is the #1 cause of rear-end collisions. Also, following too closely is the #1 cause of collisions on the freeway. That’s why it is essential to leave plenty of space between you and the car ahead of you. Riding someone’s bumper is not only rude, it is also dangerous. There is no good reason to ever engage in tailgating so just don’t do it!

The Golden Rule of Driving

Courtesy is Key

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You know that Golden Rule, “Treat others how you would like to be treated?”  Well, that applies to driving too.  Be a courteous driver just as you would like other drivers to be courteous to you.  When you lead by example with your patience and mindfulness, you can actually reduce your OWN frustration behind the wheel, as well as other drivers’ frustration.  Follow TrafficSchool.com’s tips to maintain the level of courtesy necessary to drive safely and not upset other drivers:   

  • STAY OFF YOUR PHONE!  Unless it is an emergency.
  • If you prefer to drive at a slower pace, move into the right lane.  If it’s a single lane road, look for a turnout where you can pull over so faster moving vehicles can pass you.
  • When traveling with kids, make sure you have plenty of items or toys to keep them occupied so you can focus on driving.
  • Don’t weave in and out of traffic lanes, and when you are changing lanes, always use your turn signal.
  • Avoid following other drivers too closely or “tailgating.”

Simple, right?  You don’t want to be part of a chain reaction of bad driving because you’re taking your frustration out on the road and on other drivers.  

Be the start of a courteous chain reaction instead; the Golden Rule is called “Golden” for a reason!  Go for gold!