Safe Following Distance

Host Drivers,

It is wonderful to be seeing you all at various times as things are slowly but surely starting to move again!  As we have been off for several months, we just wanted to share a few reminders with you as some of you are starting to roll again!

The following is a great article from our insurance carrier.  Enjoy!


Following Distance

There are various techniques and practices that drivers should consistently use to help keep both themselves and others safe while on the road. One of the most effective of which is maintaining a safe following distance between vehicles. Maintaining a safe following distance can allow drivers to avoid collisions from sudden stops or braking, safely identify and maneuver around road hazards, safely navigate potentially hazardous weather conditions, and improve spatial awareness.

In general, the heavier the vehicle the more following distance that is needed to brake or stop safely without colliding with whatever may be in front of the vehicle.

According to the FMCSA:

  • If traveling below 40 mph, you should leave at least one second for every ten feet of vehicle length. For a typical tractor trailer this results in 4 seconds between the vehicles.
  • If traveling over 40 mph, you should leave an additional second.
  • Following distance should also be at least doubled in the event of hazardous weather conditions like rain, ice, or snow.
  • The average stopping distance for a CMV traveling in favorable conditions at 55 mph is 196 feet, almost two-thirds the length of a football field.1

Following distance rules also apply to non-CMV vehicles as well. The general rule of thumb related to these smaller and lighter vehicles is to allow at least 3 seconds of time between the driver vehicle and the vehicle in front of them. Like CMVs, this distance should also be increased in hazardous or slick road conditions. 2