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Space yourself

The safety space in front of your car is the easiest one to control as you can simply adjust the gap between yourself and the vehicle in front by varying your speed. If you’re regularly getting a close-up view of large or slow vehicles, then you need to maintain a safer gap to give you more time to react or stop. Your forward safety gap must always be large enough to stop safely in half of the clear distance you can see ahead.

An easy way to maintain this gap on a dry road is to use the ‘two-second rule’. Applying this rule is easy. First, watch the car ahead of you pass a static marker point. A tree, a phone box, a lamp-post, or any fixed reference point. As the vehicle passes the fixed point, recite the following phrase at a normal speaking rate: ‘Only a fool breaks the two-second rule’. This should take approximately two seconds to say. You should have finished the phrase as, or before, you reach the fixed reference point. If you pass the point before you finish speaking, you are too close to the car in front; pull back and try again.
In poor weather your gap should be at least double. As the vehicle in front passes a fixed point, recite the following at a normal speaking rate: ‘Only a fool breaks the two-second rule – and more time in the wet’. This should take approximately four seconds to say. Again, you should have finished the phrase as, or before, you reach the fixed reference point. Initially the gap might seem very large – if this is the case, it’s indicative that up to now you’ve been driving too close and trusting to ‘good luck’ to keep you safe.