Virginia’s highways and roads are likely to be crowded this holiday season, as people head out for parties, family trips, and visits with family and friends. While time is precious, rushing to get to your destination may end up meaning not getting there at all. Virginia State Police urge motorists to take a moment, assess the conditions, and give other drivers the correct time and space so that everyone arrives safely at their destination.
In 2022, there were 24,633 crashes caused by drivers following another vehicle too closely, 11% of all crashes that occurred on Virginia roadways. Last year, seven people died in Virginia traffic crashes resulting from vehicles following too closely. *
“Giving the correct distance between you and the vehicle in front of you provides a driver with enough time to safely react in an emergency situation,” said Captain T.E. Jones, Virginia State Police Richmond Division commander. “Even when it’s not raining, having enough stopping distance between you and the vehicle in front of you is critical when it comes to avoiding a crash. Simply follow the ‘two, three, and four second rule,’ and help keep Virginia’s highways safe for everyone.”
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles recommends using what is known as the “two, three, and four second rule” to guide whether you are following behind another vehicle too closely. If you are driving 35 MPH or less, allow two seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you are driving 35 to 45 MPH, allow three seconds between vehicles. Four seconds should be allowed between vehicles for speeds above 45 MPH. These times are for dry surfaces.
Source: Virginia Driver’s Manual, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
Drivers driving in wet conditions, drowsy conditions or behind a motorcycle or bicycle should add additional time.