One major key point in learning and understanding how to drive is realizing that you need to be aware of everyone else’s driving just as much as you are aware of your own. This is because, while you are following all of the necessary regulations, other drivers around you may not be.
Due to this, it is important to keep a cushion of space around your vehicle. This cushion will protect you in the event that a car directly behind you rear ends your vehicle or another driver makes a mistake.
If you have enough space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you, the likelihood of crashing into the car in front of you is decreased. This cushion is meant to protect your vehicle on all sides, and there are six areas that are part of this cushion. If you think of your vehicle and the immediate surrounding space divided into six parts, three on each side, you will have six areas. There are two front areas, two middle areas, and two rear areas. This means that there is a left and right front area, and the same method applies to the other areas as well. In an attempt to ensure your safety from other drivers, make sure that your vehicle has a cushion on all six sides at all times. For example, if you notice a vehicle becoming too close to the back left area of your vehicle, you need to make a move to ensure that there is still enough space between your vehicle and the one that is encroaching on your vehicle’s space.
A safe following distance is necessary at all times. For this, use the 4-second rule. In order to do measure your following distance, pay attention the bumper of the car in front of you. When that bumper reaches a landmark along the side of the road, such as a light pole, begin counting. If you pass the landmark in less than four seconds, you are following too closely.
- Keep a cushion of space around your entire vehicle.
- Use the 4-second rule to determine if you are too close to the car in front of you.
- Make driving adjustments in the event that another car moves too close to your vehicle.
The cushion in front of you allows for you to have extra time to react if you need to brake quickly. If there is a hazard in the road, it is optimal to have enough time to react, and enough space surrounding your vehicle to be able to properly move out of the way. Remember that a few seconds of extra time to react is enough to save your life.