Keep a safety distance between vehicles It is essential to avoid road accidents, especially those Reach collisions in the event of sudden braking (for example, when approaching a traffic jam or an accident). To know how to calculate an adequate safety distance, there is a very simple trick, although certain factors must be taken into account.
The two-second trick
The first thing to remember is that the safety distance is the separation that must exist between two vehicles, taking into account aspects such as weather conditions, the speed at which we drive, or the circumstances of the road.
As a general rule, when we go on the road, the separation that we must keep with the vehicle that precedes us must be the one that allows another vehicle to pass us safely. Maintaining this separation also helps avoid jams and tedious “accordion effect”.
The General Traffic Regulation (RGC) explains that “every driver of a vehicle that circulates behind another must leave between them a free space that allows him to stop in the event of sudden braking, without colliding with it, especially taking into account speed, the adhesion and braking conditions ”. But how to determine whether or not we are maintaining an adequate distance?
To calculate it quickly, the DGT has shared a very simple trick: in normal weather and traffic conditions, while we are driving, it would be enough to set a reference visual through which the car in front is going to pass (a kilometer mark or a sign, for example) and from then on, start counting in seconds. The most exact way is “1.101, 1.102, 1.103 …” We should reach the reference that we had previously set at “1.102” (in two seconds), to know that we are maintaining an adequate safety distance.
Respect the safety distance. It is your protective shield. Can’t calculate it?
– Directorate General Traffic (@DGTes) October 9, 2021
However, two seconds may be insufficient when braking very hard, in bad weather or in low visibility situations such as rain or fog, for example. In these circumstances, the most appropriate calculation would be four seconds.
The same happens in tunnels. In this regard, the RGC establishes that, when it is not intended to overtake, “a safety distance must be maintained at all times with the preceding vehicle of, at least, 100 meters or a minimum interval of four seconds”.
In the case of vehicles whose maximum authorized mass is greater than 3,500 kilograms, the safety distance that must be kept with the preceding vehicle will be at least 150 meters or a minimum safety interval of six seconds (or what is the same , “Count to 1,106”).
And we have to take into account the references on how much distance you travel in two seconds according to the DGT: at 50 km / h a car travels 28 meters, at 90 km / h it travels 50 meters and 120 km / h, it travels approximately 66 meters .
What does the “rule of the square” say?
As an alternative to the two-second trick, there is another way to calculate the appropriate safety distance from the car in front: known as “rule of the square”.
To apply it, the last figure of the speed at which it is circulating is eliminated and then the remaining number is multiplied by itself. That is to say, if the speed is 80 km / h, the zero is eliminated and the 8 is multiplied by itself: the result is 64, which are the meters that must be left with respect to the vehicle that circulates in front of us.
However, this rule does not apply in low visibility conditions or in adverse weather conditions. In these cases, you should leave twice the safety distance for prevention.
Failure to respect the safety distance carries fines
If the distance is not maintained, in the event of sudden braking, a chain collision would occur and, being heavy vehicles, the damage would be even more serious.
➡️ Reckless driving with a penalty of € 500 and 6 points
– Directorate General Traffic (@DGTes) May 23, 2021
As a general rule, if a driver does not respect the safety distance, they can be penalized with a fine of 200 euros and lose four points on the driving license.
But if, in addition to not complying with the safety distance with the rest of the cars, a driver carries out reckless behaviors such as the one that can be seen in the video that accompanies the DGT tweet, the fine can be up to 500 euros and carry a withdrawal of up to six points from the card of driving.