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Monday, January 23, 2012

Following too close is the single worst driving error we make

Following too close is the single worst driving error we make, in my opinion. I could probably list several more sins before I would list “speeding” as a top priority in traffic law enforcement. That’s not what our police, the safety “industry” and the media think.
But there is proof everywhere that our traffic is badly managed and stupidly policed. Following too close is hardly enforced at all. Oh yes, there are lots of people being convicted for following too close, but most are charged as a result of collisions, not preventive enforcement.
One of the better examples of the nonsense imposed on us was the “keep two chevrons apart“ signage on the 401. A stretch of that highway near Whitby had chevrons painted in each lane in an effort to reduce tailgating. Signs advised motorists to keep at least two chevrons apart, in order to properly judge a safe distance between cars and not follow too closely. The problem is that a safe distance between cars depends on the speed these cars are travelling at, so it cannot be fixed. The higher the speed the greater the distance needed between cars. Most experts agree that time is a better way to determine a safe distance between cars and most say 2 seconds is a minimum number required. A better way of doing this would be to have one chevron painted on the highway every 500 m or so. You would advise motorists in simple language (I’m far from being an expert here) that the chevron must be visible to them for at least 2 seconds from the time they see it appear from under the car in front of them, until it disappears under their own car.

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