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.

33 New Drivers Are Losing Their Licence Every Day

Young drivers have historically been given a bad name and new statistics suggests why this is.

On average, 33 people are losing their licence each day in the UK with nearly 70% of these being new drivers between the ages of 17 and 24.

It isn’t surprising that new drivers often have to pay a higher insurance premium, and younger drivers even more so.

Why are so many people losing their licence?

The statistics follow the introduction of the New Driver Act that was put into practice in 2018. Some may believe that the act is unfair on new drivers, but all new drivers have a responsibility to keep the roads as safe as possible.

Under the act, if a new driver obtains six points on their licence in a two year period (within two years of passing) their licence will be revoked.

However, this doesn’t mean that the new driver is banned forever, instead, the driver is banned temporarily and has to apply for their provisional licence again.

After they have obtained their provisional licence, they will then need to retake their theory test and practical driving test and pass these before being allowed back on the roads.

Are the new rules fair?

It is difficult to argue with the statistics that show young drivers are the most dangerous group when compared to others. For example, those aged between 17 and 24 make up just 7% of drivers on the road, yet the age group make up 20% of serious injuries or deaths on UK roads.

With numbers like this, it is easy to see why extra precautions need to be taken.

Whether the New Driver Act is the most successful method of giving extra protection to road users or not is debatable, and the act hasn’t yet been in place long enough for a true conclusion to be made.

Will I be penalised for being a new driver?

If you are looking to take your test in the near future then it is likely that you may have to adhere to additional rules initially.

Whether or not the New Driver Act will remain is unknown, especially as the UK is currently in a potential parliamentary transitional period.

With the future of the UK’s laws uncertain, a new act or regulations may be introduced for new drivers. There has been some talk of introducing a graduated licence scheme with an ongoing trial in Northern Ireland set to end in 2020.

This trial could lead the way for new rules and regulations in the UK for new drivers. The trail is based on similar schemes that have been put in place in other parts of the globe and have been fairly successful.

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What would a graduated licence scheme look like?

Although it is currently difficult to say what the exact structure of the scheme would be (as these vary globally), the road safety charity Brake has given us some idea of how this could look. Brake support the idea of the UK introducing a scheme like this.

Furthermore, they have called on the UK government to consider making it a legal requirement for all new drivers to spend 12 months learning to drive before they are allowed to take a test. This isn’t all that Brake wants to see if the scheme is introduced, they also want the government to consider introducing a curfew for new drivers.

This would mean that new drivers would only be allowed on the roads between certain times.

Finally, Brake believes that drivers should be given a two year probation period once they are given their licence, and only be able to graduate to a full unrestricted licence after two years of safe driving.