What distance should be between cars?
Failure to maintain the distance is a frequent cause of vehicle collisions. The distance is the distance between the cars following each other. The higher the speed, the more distance is necessary.
The concept of distance according to traffic regulations
The traffic rules do not specify the exact distance in meters that drivers are required to maintain. However, it is generally accepted that a safe distance between vehicles when driving is determined by the speed and braking distance of vehicles moving in the flow of vehicles.
It is the driver’s responsibility to maintain:
- A lateral interval that will be able to ensure the safety of traffic;
- Distance to the vehicle in front to avoid a collision.
Traffic rules do not specify an exact value of safe distance in meters, because it depends on many factors:
- The condition of the road surface;
- The technical condition of the car;
- weather conditions, etc.
When driving in the traffic flow you need to be able to quickly analyze the situation, to predict the emergency braking of the vehicle ahead and simultaneously pay attention to the vehicle moving behind.
In the traffic rules there is such a concept as the effective distance. It means a safe distance between cars. According to the traffic rules, this distance must be increased when:
- there is a novice behind the wheel (this is evidenced by a special sign on the rear window);
- movement is carried out on a poor-quality road surface;
- the driver sharply increases speed;
- the rain has changed to snow and visibility has become worse;
- the driver has moved to the end of the car queue with more than five vehicles.
The distance is required to increase even more, if the movement is carried out:
- on wet asphalt pavement;
- on a wet dirt road;
- On an icy or snow-covered road.
Failure to maintain an effective distance greatly increases the risk of rear-end collisions.
What distance should be kept between vehicles?
The distance between vehicles according to the traffic code should be strictly observed by drivers. However, there are often situations when a driver moves in the traffic flow closely behind another car and is deprived of freedom of action, for example:
- it is impossible to brake emergencyly, because there is no room for the stopping way;
- It is not possible to bypass a vehicle that has stopped suddenly. It is also impossible to reverse because of the cars standing behind;
- you can’t accelerate or do most of the maneuvers;
- insufficient visibility of the road.
When driving behind a car, it is recommended to keep a distance that allows you to stop, make a maneuver and avoid a collision.
On dry asphalt, the minimum distance between moving vehicles is 3 meters (2 seconds). If the pavement is of poor quality, wet or there is clay on the track, this distance increases to the equivalent time of 3-4 seconds.
If various precipitations have fallen: wet snow, rain, ice on the road, the safest distance is 5-6 seconds. Drivers who do not have a lot of skill, it is recommended to keep the minimum distance of at least 7-8 seconds.
If the snow falls, but it is sufficiently rolled, experienced drivers can keep a distance of 4 seconds, beginners – 5 seconds.
In a city
In the city, this distance will be used by an experienced driver and make a novice shorten the distance and get nervous. On average, the recommended safe distance between cars in city mode is 3 meters. This is about 2/3 the length of the car’s body.
For novice drivers, you should keep a distance of at least 5 meters.
On the highways
The distance on highways directly depends on the condition of the road surface. The distance to the next car should be:
- 2 seconds when the asphalt road does not contain any obstacles in the form of contaminated areas or repair work;
- 3 seconds if there are small obstacles on the road (potholes, fallen branches), which can be easily bypassed;
- 3 seconds if driving on a quality road surface, but in the dark time of the day;
- 4 seconds – in daylight hours when the road is covered with frost, snow;
- 5 seconds if the driver drives in the dark on a snow-covered road;
- 6 seconds – when the road is icy, there is wet snow, the road is covered with snow, there is a thin film of water on the road surface.
In a traffic jam.
Normal is considered to be the distance between cars, equal to half of the car. For beginners it is 2/3 the length of the car, it is, on average, 2 meters. This distance is quite enough to change lanes without creating an emergency situation if the car ahead suddenly stalls. It will reduce the risk of abrupt maneuvers from other cars.
On difficult sections of the road or in bad weather, the distance should be such that the braking distance of the car is less than the visibility distance. This applies at intersections with poor visibility, on narrow streets, and in tight corners.
At traffic lights.
Traffic rules state that the driver must maintain a distance that will prevent an accident from occurring. At traffic lights, it is not advisable to get too close to the car in front to avoid an accident.
When stopping in front of a busy intersection, the distance should be 2-3 meters, so that in the case of impact the car did not hit other vehicles. If you leave several meters distance to the next car, you have a chance to avoid an accident when changing lanes.
The distance for parking depends on the specific situation, it is not clearly defined by the traffic rules. So, it should be such that the driver and passengers can freely exit the car. If the driver stops behind a parked car, you need to leave room to get out freely if another car stands behind.
When stopping, driving directly depends on the quality of the road surface:
- On muddy and wet asphalt, the distance is 3 seconds;
- on a road with obstacles or on an icy road, 5 seconds;
- on a winter road the distance is 4 seconds.
The driver must immediately increase the distance if there was a sudden failure in the work of the car, the oncoming vehicle turned on high beam, the tires are worn unseasonably.
Penalty for non-compliance
At the accident the violation is fixed on the basis of two rules:
- 10.1 – regulates the movement of the car at the required speed;
- 9.10 – prescribes the observance of safe distance between the vehicles.
According to the rule 9.10 the driver is obliged to choose the safe distance to the car which moves in front of him as well as the lateral interval. In addition, he must decide what kind of distance will help to avoid a collision between two vehicles.
According to COAP 12.15 (Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Violations), a fine is paid for failure to keep a distance or driving on the roadside, which contributed to the accident situation.
Also driving on the oncoming intersection and crossing a transport column is punishable by a fine of up to 1500 rubles.
In the Manual of the traffic rules such concept as “distance between cars” is considered rather vague. There is no fixed value. The exception is the presence of the sign on the road, which limits the minimum distance. In other cases, the driver must choose the optimal distance between his own car and the car in front of him.
Permissible distance between cars depending on situations
In the first half of 2016, 39% of accidents occurred with passenger cars. According to reports compiled by traffic police officers, the causes of accidents were bad roads and failure to maintain proper distance between cars.
Determining the right distance
In order to avoid getting into an accident, you should know what should be a safe distance between cars. The main factors based on which to choose this interval include:
- reaction time;
- the technical characteristics of the car;
- the condition of the roadway;
- time of day; ;
- the place of driving (urban conditions, highway).
Important! Experts advise with an overloaded vehicle to keep a distance of 2.5 times the norm, since such a vehicle needs more space to perform braking.
The reaction time of a driver with little driving experience is 0.5 seconds, a professional spends half as much. During this time you need to have time to:
- Evaluate the importance of emergency braking;
- select the correct braking mode;
- to proceed to the braking process.
The brake system will respond within 0.1-0.3 seconds. But this applies to vehicles with serviceable brakes, tires. Further stopping time is affected by the weight of the vehicle. For example, the car Jeep Commander is characterized by the allowed mass of 3000 kilograms. So it needs more time to brake than a small car with a weight of 650 kilograms.
The time of the year, the day and the quality of road surface have a special influence on the distance. For example, at night the owner of the vehicle deteriorates visual acuity, so the reaction time increases several times. On a bad road, to assess the obstacles, you need an additional couple of seconds. And if it is raining or snowing, it will take three times more for braking.
Therefore, experts recommend in such difficult conditions to drive especially carefully and try to increase the distance between other cars and not to sharply press the brake pedal, which sometimes leads to blocking of the wheels.
Anyone can easily find a special calculator on the Internet, which can be used to calculate the braking distance for different cars. This can be done independently. Thus, it is necessary to adhere to the following formula: S = Kt*V² /254 Kc. In order to facilitate the calculation, you need to understand this formula in detail:
- S – is the braking distance (meters);
- Kt – index, which for a passenger car is 1, and for a truck – 1.4 or more;
- V – the speed at the beginning of the brake pedal;
- Kc – is the degree of traction, it shows in dry asphalt and ice is 0.7 and 0.1, respectively.
Let’s solve a simple problem. For example, the owner of a passenger vehicle was allowed to drive on a toll road, applying the speed limit of 130 km / h. To calculate what will be the braking distance, we turn to the formula and get: 1*130*130/254*0,7. The result is 95 m. You have to add to that 40 kilometers. – the distance the car will have travelled in seconds before braking. This takes into account the reaction time as well as the brake application. This means that the distance during driving at 130 km/h should be about 149 m. If this distance is respected, the driver is guaranteed to be free from traffic problems.
What is the distance between cars in different situations
Dense car traffic leads to the following:
- There is no possibility to overtake a car that suddenly decided to stop. At the same time to pass is also not feasible, because the car is backed up by others;
- there’s no good view of the road;
- not enough space to make emergency braking;
- impossible to perform most maneuvers.
Therefore, the distance between the car on the traffic rules in meters allows you to make the necessary stop, a maneuver, avoiding a collision with another vehicle. In different situations, special conditions on the distance should apply.
When driving in the city.
Most often accidents occur within the city limits. The fact is that in urban conditions, the recommended distance is difficult to maintain because of traffic congestion and the need to quickly realign.
Beginner drivers usually try to keep a distance of more than 5 meters, which is a mistake. A long distance between cars in the city can also lead to accidents. Experts recommend to keep a distance of about two-thirds of the length of the vehicle, usually 3-4 meters. The experienced drivers can reduce this figure up to 2 meters, because they possess a quicker reaction time.
When driving out on the highway.
On the highway, a high speed limit is allowed, which in turn causes an increase in the distance between cars. The distance is determined by the condition of the road, so drivers to overcome the distance to the car ahead of them should have:
- 2 seconds – when there are no obstacles on the road, dirt, repairs;
- 3 seconds – when driving on a quality road surface at night, or after precipitation, in the presence of minor obstacles, fallen branches, small potholes that are easy to bypass;
- 4 seconds – when there is snow, frost on the road surface and driving is done during the day;
- 5 seconds – when driving on a snow-covered road at night, in the presence of ice, compacted snow;
- 6 seconds – while driving on an ice-covered road, snow-covered road, presence of a thin water film, after wet snow.
At traffic lights.
It is clearly written in the traffic rules that every driver must keep a distance to avoid an accident. For example, a car standing at a traffic light and waiting for the licensing sign must not press against another car. Here it is necessary to observe such a distance that there is no need to apply reverse when bypassing the neighboring car if it stalled.
Stopping at a crowded intersection, the driver must keep a distance of 2-3 meters. It is necessary so that if cars collide, they do not touch others. Thus, having left some meters, if necessary, it is possible to change the lane without problems.
As part of the column
An organized convoy of vehicles must comply with special rules during movement. Thus, all maneuvers are performed in a coordinated manner, they are required to have the same speed. Based on paragraph 9.11 of the Traffic Code, the column must not leave a distance between cars that allows other moving cars to overtake it.
In theory, the distance is calculated 1 m. per 1 km / h, to ensure the safety of sudden braking. But observing this, the column of cars will stretch over a long distance, causing a lot of problems to other vehicles. That is why experts still advise, when choosing a distance, to pay attention to the size of the body of the longest car in a column and to the speed:
- Up to 40 km/h – 8 m;
- 40-60 km/h when driving in the city – about 12 m;
- 60-80 km/h on the highway – 15 m;
- Over 80 km/h – about 25 m.
In a traffic jam.
The norm of distance is half of the vehicle. It is recommended that beginners observe 2-3 car lengths in traffic jams. This in turn is about 2 m. With such a distance it is easy to make a change to another lane of traffic if the car ahead of you breaks down.
What are the penalties.
If the driver does not respect the distance, he may be punished. So, according to the rules of the accident, he faces a fine – 1500 rubles. If there was a collision with other cars and the speed was exceeded, the employees of the traffic police additionally write out 500-2500 rubles. Repeated violation will lead to the deprivation of the driver’s license, and the amount of the fine will be doubled.
Remember, your safety is more expensive, so do not forget to respect the distance recommended by the experts.