The Two Second Rule

Following Distance

In order to have the time you need in order to respond to various road situations, you need to do more than just scan the roads. You have to give maintain a cushion of space between your car and other ones on the road! Maintaining safe following distances sounds easy enough, but it can sometimes prove challenging. After all, if there is a lot of space between you and the car ahead, someone is bound to change into your lane. Right? Even if this is one of your pet peeves, it’s important to remember that there are worse things that you can encounter while driving, and you shouldn’t dwell on the things you can’t change.

space areas around car

“The Two-Second Rule”

Experts from Florida recommend a safe following distance of at least two seconds. This means that when you’re behind a vehicle, you should watch it pass a fixed object (such as an overpass, sign, corner, etc) and count the seconds that it takes for you to reach the same marker. Remember, one second is the length of time it takes to say “One-Mississippi.” Even though you should be following the Two-Second rule, there are many situations where you should increase your following distance. In fact, when driving in poor weather conditions such as rain, smoke or fog, it is recommended that you double or triple your following distance!


Safe following distances are critical for safe drivers. If you are too close to the car ahead, not only will you not have good visibility of the roadway, you won’t have enough time to react to an emergency braking situation! It takes time for you to recognize a situation and actually press the brakes. Plus, your car doesn’t stop immediately after pressing the brakes— it takes time. By maintaining a good following distance, you are ensuring that you can remain aware, alert and have the best opportunity to respond to changing road circumstances.


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