Space cushion driving may help prevent serious or fatal accidents. As Nevada roads become more congested, drivers are leaving less room between their vehicles and those around them. Following too closely reduces drivers’ opportunities to react to situations on the road and may increase tension between drivers.

Tailgating Is More Than Rude, it Is Risky

Following too closely commonly contributes to rear-end collisions. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, rear-end collisions accounted for nearly one-half of all two-vehicle accidents occurring between 2012 and 2014. When drivers tailgate, they may have to slam on their brakes to avoid crashing if the traffic conditions suddenly change or a road hazard or other situation occurs on the street in front of them. Drivers behind them may also be forced to slam on their brakes, and sometimes they or the other drivers may not have adequate time and space to avoid crashing.

What Is Space Cushion Driving?

Space cushion driving is a type of defensive driving by which motorists take action to maintain a safe distance between their cars and the other automobiles around them. An empty space in front, behind, and on both sides of their vehicles, a space cushion is an area devoid of any other automobiles. This gives people the time and options to attempt to avoid collisions if they or those around them have sudden emergencies or movements on the road.

How to Create and Maintain a Space Cushion

According to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles’ Driver Handbook, drivers must stay at least two seconds behind the vehicles in front of them when traveling at 40 mph or less. To determine their following distance, drivers should select a fixed object and begin counting the seconds between when the rear bumpers of the vehicles in front of them pass the object and when their vehicles reach the object. Drivers should keep in mind that the time and distance needed for them to stop safely increases as their speed increases. Inclement weather conditions may impact stopping distance as well. Drivers should adjust their speed to allow motorists behind them to pass if they are not maintaining a safe following distance so they are not riding right alongside other vehicles.