Give the two-second rule a go

Give The Two-Second Rule A Go

Perrys is calling on motorists to give the two-second rule a go to make sure they’re not risking lives by tailgating. The call comes amid fears that too many drivers are not aware of the stopping distance they need to come to a halt safely in an emergency.


Stopping Distance

Having a car looming large in your rear view mirror is not pleasant at the best of times. That’s why it’s no surprise that motorists often put tailgating high on their list of what ranks as a stressful and unpleasant driving experience. If something unexpected occurs in front of you at speed, the Highway Code says you’ll need 96 metres to come to a stop if you’re driving at 70mph. And this is if you’re on the ball and spot the incident straight away. Any kind of distraction will compromise reaction times, meaning you could carry on driving towards the hazard at over than 60 metres per second.

Rule of Thumb

The two-second rule is an easy and worthwhile rule of thumb that works due to it being based on time, not distance. There’s some flexibility involved that matches the speed you’re driving at, so it doesn’t mean you have to hold a complex bunch of numbers in your head. It works by noting when the motor in front goes by a fixed point, such as a telegraph pole or tree. Then you say to yourself ‘only a fool breaks the two-second rule’. If you are still saying this when you drive by the same point, then you are driving too closely to the vehicle in front.

Expert Comment

Perrys’ motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, drives many different cars on lots of different roads in the UK and abroad regularly. He said: “Whether you’re in Britain or Bavaria, you’ll always find aggressive drivers sitting on your backside desperate to overtake. Many seem to do this on purpose to intimidate you, but some probably follow too closely, because they’re not aware how dangerous it is. Giving the two-second rule a go can really help remind us all about keeping our distance from the vehicle in front. It’s a mantra worth remembering, as it’s easy to get carried away when you’re late or stressed. Using this rule could save lives.”

Perrys’ Stay Safe Tips

  • Give the two-second rule a go on every car journey.
  • In damp weather, change two seconds to four seconds. Reduced visibility means hazards are harder to spot and your tyreshave less grip in the wet.
  • Don’t think that different rules apply to people with high-tech modern motors. Effective braking – and doing it in time – still heavily relies on drivers who are alert and focused.
  • Ensure you’re sat comfortably and can reach the brake pedal easily. Braking hard can be compromised if you are sat too far forward or you’re seat is ratcheted too far back.
  • Try and observe what’s happening beyond the car in front of you. Spotting potential issues well ahead means you’re unlikely to be surprised.
  • If you’re worried that a motorist is following you far too closely, then leave lots room ahead of you so that you can gradually scrub off speed, if necessary. Let the tailgater overtake when it’s safe, so that their aggressive presence behind you doesn’t become a risky distraction.