Keeping A Safe Following Distance While Driving
One of the important questions to consider for safe driving in Oregon is how much gap you should maintain between your car and the vehicle in front of you when driving at highway speeds.
The practice of maintaining a safe driving distance at all times, whether you are in the middle of your daily commute to work, or dropping your kid at school, or heading off for a long weekend break with the family, is vital to minimizing the risk of accidents.
“Seconds Rule” to Help Maintain a Safe Space between Cars
At highway speeds in Oregon, you may follow the widely accepted “Seconds Rule” to maximize your reaction time and ensure that you and other drivers remain as safe as possible on the roadways.
For each of the following “Seconds Rule,” you should begin by selecting a static point along the road side. This could be a post or speed limit sign or another static point. Now count from the moment the rear of the car in front of you crosses the point until you reach there.
In general, you can use the following rules to evaluate your safe driving space on the road:
During normal traffic and road conditions, count to three seconds. Whether you are driving at 30 mph or 80 mph, this rule will enable you to maintain sufficient space to safely avoid potential road hazards in Oregon.
Semi-trucks and other big commercial vehicles will typically have a large blind spot right behind the truck. This spot can often hide two cars. So, give yourself one additional second for extra safety when you are following a large tractor-trailer.
When the road conditions are unsafe or the weather is inclement, increase your time to six seconds to be on the safe side. In conditions of extremely bad weather or low visibility, increase your driving distance even more.
In order to inculcate this safe driving habit, start by evaluating your natural driving space that you maintain. Spot-check yourself on your daily commute to estimate how much space you naturally allow on the highway.
Thereafter, make a committed effort to practice the above-described guidelines for a few days. With some practice and focused effort, you will gradually adjust your natural driving space to fall within the desirable guidelines.
Additional Tips for Safe Driving on Oregon Highways
Leaving safe space in front of your car is vital, but that alone is not enough to eliminate your driving risks on Oregon highways. You need to take additional precautions and focus on defensive driving skills to avoid accidents. Here are some other tips to strengthen your safe driving habits:
Always have an Escape Plan
Sometimes side distances between cars can matter as much as the distance in the front. Look for open spaces on both sides that could be useful in maneuvering around potential hazards.
Reduce Driving Distractions
If you talk on the phone, send or read text messages, or indulge in some other form of multi-tasking while driving, you may forget the safe distance rule as you drive. Therefore, maintain focus on the road at all times while driving.
Stick to the Lane Rules
Follow the lane rules that apply to Oregon roads. Lanes on the leftmost side are for passing. When traveling below the speed limit, stay in the rightmost lane or close to it. These safe driving practices will help prevent most tailgating-prone motorists from coming too close behind you.
What to do When the Other Driver Fails to Maintain Safe Space
Many drivers in Oregon try to follow the safe space guidelines and maintain caution until another driver derails their effort. When you use the practice of keeping safe distance, it could sometimes expose you to the risk of tailgating or unsafe passing.
Some motorists on the road feel the urge to occupy any empty space, especially when the highway is crowded. In a congested area, a driver who waits until the last minute to change lanes might try to take advantage of a driver that leaves a safe distance.
Although such situations can be frustrating on the road, drivers who practice safe distances will ultimately be in a better overall position. Safety is paramount while driving, and having a critical few extra seconds to react to an unexpected situation can be far more precious than gaining an extra spot in line.
Lane switching, tailgating, and speeding hardly improve the travel time on a highway, but these unsafe practices will almost always increase the risk of a crash.
On the other hand, maintaining a safe space on the highways will not significantly affect your driving time, but will keep you safe. Injuries and suffering of a lifetime are certainly costlier than a few lost seconds.
What to do when the Other Driver Tailgates You?
Tailgating refers to the act driving too close to the vehicle in front of you. This practice is not only dangerous, but it can also be off-putting or distracting for the driver in the front. It is often difficult to keep a car from tailgating you, particularly during peak hour traffic in Oregon.
Sometimes persistent tailgating can give rise to incidents of road rage. While you should always avoid tailgating, there is virtually no way you can control the behavior of the other drivers on the road.
Therefore, if the car behind you is getting dangerously close, as a first step, you must stay calm. Reacting negatively to such a situation can only harm you. Try to create more distance by easing off the gas as soon as an opportunity presents itself.
Another solution could be to switch lanes safely (where applicable) in order to avoid a dangerous situation altogether.
Class B Violation under Oregon Law
In Oregon, a driver can be charged with the offense of following too closely, if they follow the vehicle in the front more closely than a reasonable and prudent driver would do, considering the speed of the traffic and the highway conditions. The offense of following too closely is classified as a Class B violation under Oregon law.
Free Consultation with Leading Car Accident Attorneys in Oregon
Dwyer Williams Cherkoss is a respected Oregon law firm with a team of experienced car accident attorneys.
If you have suffered personal injuries in a car accident due to the failure of another driver to maintain safe distance, tailgating, speeding, or another reason, you should seek a free consultation with us to get the best legal advice. Call us at 1-800-285-8678 today.