Being at the correct minimum distance will prevent you driving into the rear of the vehicle in front of you. This type of accident accounts for around 50% all road traffic accidents and injuries.
We have been in a traffic jam when you wonder what it was all for when you get to the front? Most traffic jams are also caused by vehicle not leaving enough room. The lead car brakes the next car brakes slightly more and so on until the traffic stops, when you get to the front.
The minimum following distance is at least 2 seconds from the vehicle in front, if the roads are wet 4 seconds and in ice and snow it can be 20 seconds needed. Other roads conditions should be taken into account such as mud, fuel or chemical spills and wet leaves etc will dramatically affect your stopping distance.
To work this out select a point on the side of the road such as a lamppost, as the vehicle in front passes this say to your self:
Only a fool breaks the 2 second rule
You should have finished say this by the time you have reached the lamppost, if you not you’re to close! (Say it twice for wet weather, for ice and snow try and find an alternative transport!)
Distance to stationary traffic
When joining a queue you should leave enough room between you and the vehicle in front to be able to move around them if they break down, roll back towards you or shut out of the way if an emergency vehicle were come up behind you.
Depending on the type of vehicle in front of you it depends how much room you should leave:
For cars leave at least half a car length try putting their back wheels and a foot of tarmac on the bottom of your windscreen, we call this Tyres and Tarmac.
For larger vehicle such as a 4×4 or lorry where your view ahead would be restricted leave as much room required so you can see ahead.