How Safe Driving Distance Protects Your Windshield
One of the first things we learn as young drivers in driver’s ed classes is the importance of maintaining a safe driving distance on the road. You probably already know that maintaining a safe distance is important for protecting you in case of a collision. With 1.7 million rear-end accidents in the United States each year, it’s always important to avoid driving too close to the driver in front of you.
But there’s another important reason for keeping a safe distance when you’re out on the road in the Duluth/Superior area: your windshield! At Zenith Auto Glass, we’re committed to helping Duluth-area drivers stay safer with convenient, affordable windshield repair. In this blog post, we’re breaking down the importance of safe driving when it comes to protecting your auto glass. Give us a call to schedule your auto glass repair today!
Safe Driving Distance
If you’ve been driving for very long, you know that fender benders are an all-too-familiar scene even if you’ve had the good fortune of avoiding one. Driving instructors emphasize the importance of maintaining safe driving distance for several reasons.
How fast you’ll be able to stop depends on several factors. One is your own reaction time, which may vary depending on a number of factors. Another is the responsiveness of your own brakes and how many feet it takes your car to come to a complete stop.
Here are some things to remember about how those factors affect safe driving distance:
● Speed Limit: Speeding is one of the leading causes of collisions. Your speed limit directly impacts your required braking distance. The fast you’re driving, the longer it will take to brake your vehicle.
● Reaction Time: Reaction time can be as short as 200 milliseconds to more than a second. Many factors can affect your reaction time including outside distractions, current weather conditions, your driving experience, your cognitive awareness, and your reflexes.
Driving for Auto Windshield Safety
Collisions aren’t the only risk that comes from following another vehicle too closely. Following too close is one of the most common causes of windshield damage that leads to windshield chip repair or even windshield replacement.
As cars pass down the road or highway, rocks and debris can kick up from their tires. When you follow too closely, these objects can impact your windshield, causing chips or more significant damage.
To understand the importance of driving distance, picture yourself behind the wheel in midday traffic. You’re pacing the vehicles around you at about 40 miles an hour when suddenly the vehicle in front of you slams on its brakes.
With a one-second reaction time at that driving speed, you’ll need at least 58 feet to stop. However, if it takes your car 30 feet to completely stop, your vehicle will require at least 88 feet to stop. Since it’s unlikely you’ll have time to mathematically calculate the speed you need to stop while driving, experts recommend using a three-second rule.
What is the Three-Second Rule?
The three-second rule is a simple and easy-to-follow rule meant to help drivers avoid traffic collisions. The beauty of the three-second rule is that it works just as well for driving slowly around town as it does for driving on the highway.
Choose a stationary object that’s ahead of you along the roadside such as a tree or a telephone pole. As the car in front of you passes the object you’ve chosen, begin to count to three slowly using “one one-thousand,” “two one-thousand,” “three one-thousand.” If your car reaches that object before you finish counting, you’re following too closely to stop in time if the car in front of you has to slam on their brakes suddenly.
Adjusted Driving Distances
It’s also important to remember the three-second rule may require some flexibility. Remember how reaction time and other factors can impact braking speed? If you’re driving at night, in heavy traffic, or with low visibility due to bad weather conditions, give yourself a little more distance. In the event of a collision, a split second can make all the difference.
When the weather conditions interfere with visibility or create wet or slick pavement, allow at least four seconds for stopping distance. This applies to smoke, fog, heavy rain, sleet, snow, ice, and anything that interferes with visibility or road conditions.
When you’re following behind a large vehicle, you should double your calculations for a safe driving distance, counting to at least six instead of three. Semi trucks, dump trucks, garbage trucks, and other large vehicles can kick up significantly more debris. They’re also more likely to lose part of their haul. The same rule applies if you see a pickup truck or trailer with a full bed. Even if the load looks secure, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Duluth & Superior Windshield Crack Repair
Even if you’re careful and always give yourself plenty of space to follow behind other vehicles, chips and cracks can still happen. At Zenith Auto Glass, our experienced technicians can handle your windshield chip repairs and get you back on the road fast. Contact us to schedule your convenient windshield chip repair or give us a call at 218-275-5555.