How Two Seconds Could Save Your Life

How Two Seconds Could Save Your Life

Analysis of more than 100,000 miles of driving of British drivers has shown that there is a cause for concern for safety on the road. During the 8,500 hours of driving, many drivers were found not to be keeping safe distances from the vehicles in front.

Or worse, the drivers were cutting up other drivers, dangerously close.

The report highlights that many British drivers are putting their lives on the line with these dangerous driving practices. Other reports have shown that more than 6000 accidents a year are because drivers haven’t kept to sensible ‘breaking distances’. This figure doesn’t include accidents where other factors (like distracted drivers, icy road conditions or excessive speed) could also be blamed for an accident.

A result of an accident can be life-changing, and some 30 drivers lose their lives on British roads every year. So, how much space should you be leaving between you and the car in front?

What the Highway Code states

Rule 126 of the Highway Code states that you need to leave enough distance between you and the vehicle to your front so that there is enough time to pull up safely if the vehicle in front suddenly stops or slows down.

This safe rule states that you should never be closer than the total stopping distance, which is the total distance it takes for you to react and the car to stop.

The Highway Code does state that a two-second gap should be adhered to between you and the vehicle to your front when you’re on roads with fast-moving traffic or in a tunnel.

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If there is water on the roads, this should be doubled (at least). In icy conditions, you should increase this distance even more.

The report found that when driving in icy conditions, the gap between cars should be about 20 seconds. Yet many British drivers don’t follow that basic rule.

Are drivers sticking to these rules?

Despite the obvious dangers of an accident, British drivers aren’t complying with the Highway Code. One in five drivers will cut between cars when there is insufficient space to allow for a one-second gap between them and either the car in front or behind them. This is really dangerous as this is shorter than the reaction time of a human.

The average gap being left by many drivers is in fact just 1.35 seconds and this has been recorded at any speeds higher than 25 miles per hour.

Sticking to the two-second rule

Sticking to the two-second rule is something challenging for drivers. Mostly because there are few ways to determine what distance that is on any given road. However, there is a simple way to measure the distance between you and another vehicle. You simply pick a stationary point on the side of the road, or on the road, and count the time it takes between the two vehicles to reach that point.

This simple method of determining the distance between vehicles could be a life-saver

You should also be on the lookout for drivers around you who aren’t paying attention to their distances. On motorways and dual carriageways, use your mirrors to see if there are drivers who are too close or are regularly cutting other drivers up. Be more prepared to break around these drivers to protect yourself.

Finally, remember your driving lessons. If you had cut someone up or changed lanes in your driving test, then you would not have passed.

That rule is there for a reason, it is to get you into a good habit of keeping you and other drivers around you safe. Don’t be tempted to pick up the bad habits of other drivers and put yourself in unnecessary danger by being careless with your distances.

4 Top Tips To Help You Pass Your Driving Test

Pass Your Driving Test

It’s completely natural to feel nervous about taking your driving test. You won’t have your instructor by your side to guide you on the day and the very nature of the test will make you feel highly scrutinised at all times.

The pressure can often prove too much, which is why it’s not uncommon for people to fail their first, second, or even third test before finally passing!

However, passing first time isn’t impossible: it just requires preparation, focus and calm.

Each time you fail your test could set you back weeks, if not months. Tests can be tricky to book at a suitable date and time, and the lessons needed in-between will add further to the cost.

To prepare, here are four top tips to help you pass your driving test and secure your licence:

1. Don’t try to save time and money by taking fewer driving lessons

It can often be extremely tempting to just take a set number of driving lessons and then immediately apply for your driving test. However, this is an ill-advised plan that likely will end up costing you more time and money in the long run.

Learning to drive isn’t an overnight process. It takes investment, hard work and repetition for safe, confident driving to become second nature. How much time? Everyone is different, but on average approximately 50 hours of lessons will be a definite step in the right direction.

Of course, each lesson will cost money and they do add up. However, you’ll be glad you paid for them when you’re not continually paying to retake your test!

The added benefit of all those lessons is that you’ll also be more likely to pass first time and become a safe, responsible driver.

2. Learn the Highway Code properly

Before you can take your driving test, you must pass a driving theory test. There are a variety of books, DVDs and apps that will help you to prepare for this test and pass with flying colours.

However, you shouldn’t stop practising once you pass this test. It may be several months before you take your driving test and believe it or not, the Highway Code actually does matter!

Knowing it inside out will help you to read signs and the road more effectively, in turn making you a better driver during your test.

3. Make the right decision about your vision

Many people are caught off guard during their driving test by the simple vision test that occurs at the very beginning.

The examiner will point to a car approximately 20 metres away and ask you to read back the licence plate number to them. You’ll only get three attempts to get this right, otherwise you’ll receive an immediate fail.

However, you should be aware that if you wear glasses or contact lenses when taking this test, you’ll be required to wear them at all times when driving a vehicle.

Of course, if you need them at all times anyway this won’t be a problem. However, if you only have a very light prescription and don’t intend to always drive while wearing corrective lenses, make sure to take them off for the test – but only if your eyesight is good enough!

4. Practice, practice, practice

This is the simplest tip, but also the most important. You can be the greatest driver in the world and know your Highway Code off by heart, but without practice you’re guaranteed to make small mistakes that will add up during your driving test and could result in failure.

Remember to keep checking your mirrors, signal where necessary and manoeuvre safely at all times. Once you can observe the roads and traffic around you while avoiding such small mistakes, you’ll be truly ready to take – and pass – your driving test.