Some days you just wonder why you bother driving to work; here you are minding your business, driving the speed limit, and the driver behind you isn’t giving you any berth. As far as they’re concerned, you’re driving too slowly and they want to you to know it. Now, being the safe, responsible driver you, I’m sure you’ve never been the sort to follow someone too close out of spite or impatience (shh, just go with it). But maybe you found yourself in fairly close proximity with another vehicle in front of you, and wondered, how close is too close?
For starters, I hope you didn’t decide to look up the answer to that question on your phone, whilst you were still in traffic – if so, put away your phone and pay attention to the road!
The rule of thumb is often cited as the “2 second rule.” This is not to be confused with the “5 second rule,” that magically allows food to fall to the floor and not pick up any of the disgusting grit or grime you meant to clean up for ages, like remnants of all the other food you’ve spilt over time. The two second rule refers to a technique where you find a fixed object along your route; anything from a sign or a shadow that’s station, relative to your forward movement. Something you and the driver ahead of you will both pass. Once the bumper of the car in front of you passes that fixed point, starting counting (One Mississippi, two Mississippi…). If you don’t get to two Mississippi before the front of your bumper passes that object, you’re too close. Better still is the 3 second rule, providing you a marginally better buffer.
What all these Mississippis come down to is reaction time. If for some reason the car in front of you stops suddenly, or for any other reason you are required to commit to an emergency maneuver, a vehicle that’s less that two seconds ahead of you isn’t far enough ahead for you to think and react fast enough to the situation. By the time your brain processes what’s happening and instructs your feet and hands on what they should do as a response, the car that’s only one Mississippi or less in front of you, may quickly be smashed against your car.
As part of our Professional Driving Simulator, SimuRide; drivers are able to test their reaction time, and also how different things, like being distract with a text or phone call, can impair the time it takes you to respond to circumstance on the road. You can also test your reaction time wearing a selection of impairment goggles, available for sale in our online store.