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Advanced Driving Tips from All Road Training
Here at All Road Training we like to pass on as much helpful information to drivers as we can, and we hope you find our advanced driving tips useful. Within this section of our website we will delve in to many major elements of driving and how you can become more of an advanced driver.
We will regularly be updating and adding to area of our website, so make sure you come back to us often to check out our latest Advanced Driving Tips.
Advanced Driving Tip: The Problem with the 2-Second Rule
Many people have heard the phrase, ‘Only a fool breaks the 2 second rule’, used as a measure of supposedly safe following distance. Laudable as it is to have such a measure, the problem is that the 2 second rule is largely misunderstood and used as ‘one size fits all’ panacea, even by many in the advanced driving industry.
Both the Highway Code and Roadcraft (the police drivers’ handbook) correctly advise a gap of at least 2 seconds in dry conditions, doubled in the wet and extended further in icy conditions. The key words here being “at least”; something which is frequently omitted or forgotten.
To develop your advanced driver skills, consider the following when judging safe following distances:
- One key relevance of at least a 2 second gap is to promote longer and broader observation, allowing us to see and plan much further ahead, and avoid the high risk yet entirely natural phenomenon of ‘target fixation’, whereby the eyes are invariably drawn to rest on the vehicle ahead when we have less than a 2 second following distance.
- The larger the vehicle ahead, of course, the larger the obstacle to our vision, so the larger the gap required to allow the eyes to readily work beyond.
- The other key relevance of at least a 2 second following distance is to allow sufficient time to respond to vehicles ahead braking sharply and firmly. This works, providing those vehicles ahead brake to a safe stop and do not collide: should the vehicle ahead come to a dead stop having hit something, a 2 second gap will be insufficient space for us to stop safely without also colliding.
- Holding back to 3 or 4 seconds in dry conditions serves to naturally extend vision for even greater anticipation and planning, with time and space to anticipate hazards before they develop, and allow the driver ahead to become a pathfinder for you, communicating as yet unseen hazard levels around the corner to you.
- This greater following distance also allows us to monitor anyone behind before applying brakes in response to changes ahead, and to initially use the brake lights without the brakes themselves if necessary to gain their full attention; getting them to brake before we do so ourselves.
- The closer we have someone behind, the greater the forward space needed to compensate for their inevitable lack of vision (fixated on the back of our vehicle).
- Assuming that your eyesight is to a good standard, a simple way of judging often appropriate following distance at moderate speeds (i.e. up to 50mph) is to ensure that the number plate of the vehicle ahead is completely illegible.
- In wet and/or cold conditions, extend following distances to at least 5 seconds and more when beneficial, compensating for the reductions in grip level and, frequently, vision.
In summary, following distances should be judged dynamically, based on continual assessment of the driving environment and specific hazard levels (both actual and potential), always able to stop safely on our own side of the road in the distance seen to be clear.
This leads us neatly on to the Safety Bubble concept, a key element of advanced driving, more of which soon…
We hope these straightforward advanced driving tips help you. For more information about advanced driver training and the courses we can offer, please browse through our website.
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