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How far apart should vehicles be on the road?

Driving too close to the vehicle in front makes crashing into the rear of it much more likely. Bringing your car to a halt or swapping lanes takes time and driving too close to someone may not leave you enough time if you suddenly need to do either of these two things.

3 seconds is a good starting point

Road safety advisors recommend drivers should always maintain a minimum of three seconds between them and the vehicle in front. They should increase that when road conditions are loose, wet or icy, or when noticing what the vehicle in front is doing becomes more difficult – such as when there is thick fog or when you are feeling tired.

What can you do if someone does not leave sufficient distance behind you?

Sorting out your own safe following distance is only part of the battle. You are surrounded by other drivers who might not even realize how far back they should stay. 

You should not try to tell someone they are following you too closely as they might misinterpret your intentions. Even though they are the ones in the wrong, it is you who needs to get out of their way as you cannot force them to get away from you. Try to allow them to pass, making sure it is safe to do so of course. If it comes to it, taking the next turn and rejoining the road far behind them will be preferable to having a crash because they would not get off your tail.

If you are injured in a situation like this, you may want help to learn more about your legal options.