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1. Don't tailgate. 2. Keep your eyes on the road. 3. Thank you.

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Johnny Dangerously, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    There's a way to say this without sounding preachy, but I'll probably fail in that regard. I'm a little touchy right now about safe driving and road etiquette. I was recently a passenger in a car driven by someone who doesn't observe the two-second rule on the Interstate (one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two), and when a car swerved ahead of us, my friend didn't have time to stop, and we rear-ended the car in front of us. Thankfully, no one was hurt, save for my renewed back and neck issues.

    Since then I've seen a few more wrecks, plus reports of several horrific ones. One occurred on a stretch of Interstate I took 24 hours earlier on a trip to the movies. The cause: following too closely (warning: photo below).

    I know we've had discussions on here before about people who drive too slowly being as dangerous as people who drive too fast, but there's nothing you can do about someone else's driving. What you can do is allow enough of a buffer between you and the car in front of you. I know it's macho and a bit of a thrill to stay with the pack at fast speed, and if nothing goes wrong, it's a great way to get somewhere in a hurry. If something goes wrong, it's a great way to die -- or total your car and get hurt. One-thousand-one, one-thousand-two. If you can't get through that short count without reaching the fixed point where the car in front of you was when you started the count, you're not allowing enough time to hit the brakes if something unexpected occurs.

    You're putting an awful lot of trust in other people -- and in thinking everything will go smoothly. It just takes one mistake or problem to turn a fast drive home into a tragedy. Don't be seduced by the benefit of getting there five minutes only, or by the fact that you may never have been in a wreck. It just takes once to drive home the point about tailgating.

    Another thing I don't understand: Drivers who turn their head every three seconds or so to make direct eye contact with a passenger during conversation. I've never been comfortable with that. Keep your eyes on the road. I know it's important, telling and meaningful to make eye contact during a conversation, but during those one or two seconds when you're looking at me, someone in front of you could be hitting brakes, and you've missed some reaction time that could cost you dearly. Soon after the wreck I was in, I rode with a driver who turns his head to look at you when he's talking while driving. I was doubly afraid after the accident.

    Am I the only one uncomfortable with drivers who take their eyes off the road constantly during conversation with someone in the car? Or am I rude because I never do? I guess I was always taught that you never take your eyes off the road.

    Anyway, I'm a little skittish right now, and I know this will come off as preachy, but if it causes one person not to tailgate, maybe those two (or three) seconds of buffer will save a life (or a car). The same with keeping your eyes on the road ahead.

    I'd wanted to say something to my friend who follows too closely when he drives, and I didn't. And a few hours later, he hit someone from behind. I didn't say anything to my friend about turning his head while driving, but maybe I should. I don't know. I think it will come off as being a jerk, but it's meant to help keep him and others as safe. I just don't know how to say those things without sounding ... well, you know.

    The more I get to know about the family that lost both parents and a child in the wreck below, the more it saddens me. They were hit by someone following too closely. It's going to be a long time before I drive that stretch of highway without thinking of them.

    I hope this post is taken in the spirit in which it's intended: saving lives.

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  2. ArnoldBabar

    ArnoldBabar Active Member

    Good reminder, JD. My wife tailgates like crazy, and I'm always nagging her about it.
  3. Flash

    Flash Guest

    Two seconds? We're taught three up here.
  4. MrWrite

    MrWrite Member

    Which works just fine until some assbag says, "Oh hey, look at all the space between those two cars. I guess I'll squeeze in there!" Then you're back to a half-second.
  5. Big Buckin' agate_monkey

    Big Buckin' agate_monkey Active Member

    I'm particularly bad at tailgating semis on the interstate in good weather and open roads.
  6. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    Two-second rule? Never heard of it. And I'm sure that if you're going 70 on the interstate, the only way you're stopping a vehicle in three seconds is with the help of a bridge abutment.

    I can distinctly remember studying for my driver's test and the book said it was one car-length for every 10 miles an hour you're going. No one follows that standard out on the road, but that was the recommendation way back when.
  7. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I love everyone except tailgaters and the Dutch.

    Tailgate me and my brake lights come on.
  8. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    We count slowly here in the South.

    Seriously, I keep more than a two-second gap, but as pointed out earlier, someone will see that as me saving a space for them. Then, when they slip in, I'm tailgating.

    Whether you use two, three or more seconds, or another method, I'm sure we can agree if you're at less than two seconds, you're too close. My friend was driving at something like "One thousand one, one th--."

    But recently I was more alarmed by the co-worker who turns his head all the time while telling a story. Scares the hell out of me.
  9. Big Buckin' agate_monkey

    Big Buckin' agate_monkey Active Member

    That's called drafting, JD.
  10. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    If you ain't rubbin', you ain't commutin.'
  11. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Ms. Slappy has no qualms about jacking her brakes for a tailgater. Problem is she doesn't tell me either. Or didn't used to until she did it one day and I spilled a drink in her car. After we got into it about my spilling because she didn't bother to warn me, it doesn't happen so much.
  12. writing irish

    writing irish Active Member

    I've heard that one should allow one car-length for each 10 MPH of speed. So if everyone's going 70, one should be 7 car-lengths behind the guy in front of you. I know that "car-length" is vague, but I try to remember that when driving on any road, not just the highway. Thanks for your post, JD...hard to have too many reminders about this issue.
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