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The right following distance for the speed you are driving

Keeping a safe following distance from the car in front of you is one of the fundamental lessons that you will learn when attempting your car licence.

Essentially, it all boils down to the faster you drive, the more distance there should be between you and the front runner, as you need enough time to think when the car ahead suddenly changes its behaviour.

Additionally, the distance that your vehicle takes to come to a standstill increases exponentially in proportion to the speed that you are driving.

This means that, for example, if you are travelling at 60km/h your car will take roughly 30 metres to stop, but at 120km/h, it will take around 100 metres to come to a standstill.

This increases if you have plenty of passengers and luggage in the car or are towing a trailer.

According to Suzuki, the distance you must leave between you and the car in front of you, depending on the speed you are driving, is:

9 life-saving driving tips

Apart from keeping a safe following distance, there are several other recommended driving practices that will enhance your safety on the road.

These include:

  • Beware trucks and bulky vehicles – These vehicles struggle to brake
  • Keep your headlights on at all times – This ensures maximum visibility on the road
  • Adjust your side mirrors correctly – The back door handle should be the only visible part of your car
  • Adjust the centre of the head restraint to the top of your ear – This protects your neck in an accident
  • Don’t be afraid to slam on the brakes – The shuddering noises indicate that the ABS system is doing its job
  • Stop a safe distance from the car ahead – You should be able to see the rear wheels of the car in front of you
  • Check tyre pressure regularly – Correctly inflated tyres improve the car’s ability to brake and ensure optimal fuel efficiency
  • Service your car regularly – This lowers the risk of experiencing dangerous mechanical or electrical failures when out on the open road
  • Stay alert and vigilant – Keep off your phone and pay attention to your surroundings, distracted drivers are the leading cause of accidents

Following these tips could be the difference between getting to your destination safely, or not getting there at all.

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