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How To Keep A Safe Following & Stopping Distance Using The ‘Two Second Rule’



In order to avoid a road crash, there are certain safety rules and processes every driver must adhere to while driving. One of these processes is keeping a good following and stopping distance. Especially when driving on highway.

Drivers are advised never to get too close to the vehicle in front of them. A reasonable space should be left between you and the vehicle in front so that you can stop safely if the vehicle ahead of you slows down or stops suddenly.

A simple and practical way to keep a safe distance is to apply the rule known as the Two Second Rule.

The ‘Two Second Rule’ requires that:

2 second rule

1. While driving on the highway, a driver should mentally measure the distance within which he can comfortably stop.

2. To do this, the driver should choose a stationery object in front of the vehicle ahead. Something like a road sign, tree or overpass.

3. As the vehicle ahead of him passes the selected object, he should recite slowly, any three word phrase, such as: “staying too close” or “trailing for safety”.

4. If the driver reaches the same object before he finishes reciting the phrase, then, it means he is following the vehicle in his front closely, and needs to slow down to allow more distance.

5. Stopping distance increases greatly with wet and slippery road. Hence, the ‘Three Second Rule’ should be applied when the road is wet. “Playing it Safe”  should be added to number 3.


  • It takes approximately two seconds to recite any three word phrase. It is unsafe to select very short words.
  • The safe gap between your vehicle and the one in front depends on the relative speed between the two vehicles.
  • Poor brake, bad tyres and tired drivers with low speed reacting time also affect stopping distance.

Emeka is a Contributor at Autojosh. A graduate of Electrical/Electronic Engineering with a B.Eng degree. Emeka is a car enthusiast who is interested in traveling, writing, movies and driving. He also loves drinking garri with cold water.