Maintain Safe Distance

Follow Two Second Rule

Maintain safe distance from other vehicles is very important to avoid road accident particularly when you are driving at a high speed road or a highway. It is recommended that one should drive at the same speed as traffic around without going over the speed limit. Whenever one is following another vehicle, the driver needs enough space to stop safely if the other vehicle applies sudden brakes. A safe distance is considered as a following distance which is at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front. This is the minimum reaction time one need to stop safely.

How to Calculate Two Second Space

To calculate two second space, one should follow the following steps:

  • Mark a point on the road ahead, such as a road sign or telephone pole.
  • When the rear end of the vehicle ahead passes the marker, count "one thousand and one, one thousand and two".
  • When the front of your vehicle reaches the marker, stop counting. If you reach the marker before you count "one thousand and two," you are close and need to maintain more distance.

Depending upon the weather and traffic conditions, try to maintain more than two-second space. If a light vehicle is ahead of you it will take lesser time to stop while if a heavy vehicle is ahead of you it would take more time and it will block your view of the road ahead. The factors that affect the stopping distance comprises the laden weight, condition of the road surface, condition of tyres, braking ability of the vehicle, driver skill and the type of vehicle. The vehicle travelling at a higher speed will take longer distance to stop. Drivers have to understand and accept the fact that irrespective of their good driving skills and good vehicle condition, if a vehicle is moving at higher speed it will take much longer distance to stop.


Anticipation is important while one is driving. The driver should see stops ahead, check the mirrors and begin braking early so as he can stop the vehicle smoothly. The seating posture of the driver should be proper such that brakes could be applied comfortably. Use your right foot for both brake and accelerator pedals so you won't step on both pedals at the same time. Press the brake pedal evenly. Do not press the clutch or release the gears from a distance. It will tend to apply brake harder in that case and will be difficult to control the vehicle. Come to a complete stop when a STOP sign is displayed or the traffic light is turned red. Wait until the way is clear before entering the intersection.

Stopping Distance

Stopping Distance is defined as the sum of the distance covered during the reaction time and the distance covered when the brakes are applied and the vehicle comes to a standstill position. Stopping distance is directly proportional the speed of the vehicle which means it will take longer distance to stop the vehicle if the speed is higher. An indicative stopping distance for various speed limits is described in the table below. It is to be noted that the stopping distance may vary according to a lot of factors such as load on the vehicle, condition of brakes, condition of tyres, type of road surface and condition of the road surface such as dry or wet. The table below describes an average stopping distance for the purpose of understanding the effect of speed upon stopping distance:

Speed Reaction Distance Braking Distance Stopping Distance
40 kmph 17 meters 9 meters 26 meters
50 kmph 21 meters 14 meters 35 meters
60 kmph 25 meters 20 meters 45 meters
70 kmph 29 meters 27 meters 56 meters
80 kmph 33 meters 36 meters 69 meters
90 kmph 38 meters 45 meters 83 meters
100 kmph 42 meters 56 meters 98 meters