Southern Ute Community Action Programs (SUCAP)
Section 4 – Four Second Rule
- The National Safety Council and SUCAP recommend the “FOUR SECOND RULE” to establish your safe following distance. Here is how it works:
- Note when the vehicle ahead passes a stationary point (telephone pole, bridge, etc.). The driver begins counting “One thousand and one – one thousand and two – one thousand and three – one thousand and four.”
- The vehicle should not pass that same point before you count to “one thousand and four.” If it does, the driver is following too close. DROP BACK.
- The four second rule is for the distance between our vehicle and the vehicle ahead of it. This Four Second Rule allows for a safe stopping distance under normal driving conditions. For adverse weather increase your following distance to a MINIMUM of five seconds for rain and seven seconds for ice.
When following another bus, or other vehicle, the driver needs to be careful to maintain a safe following distance between our vehicle and the bus or other vehicle ahead. A good gauge is the “FOUR SECOND RULE.” Be alert and prepared for unexpected stops by keeping your vehicle under control at all times. By using the “FOUR SECOND RULE,” the distance will increase as speed increases. Failure to allow sufficient following distance could result in a rear-end collision.
- When stopping behind another vehicle, keep the “following distance” in mind. This lets the driver establish the safe following distance. It gives the driver enough room to maneuver around the vehicle ahead, should it stall.
- Allow 10 feet between the vehicle and the stopped vehicle ahead.
- When the vehicle ahead moves forward, allow another five feet before you move your vehicle.
- Allow the same following distance for a bicycle, motorcycle, or moped as you would any other vehicle. Remember that the following distance is determined by the driver’s ability to stop the vehicle. If any conditions exist that affect your stopping distance, you must increase your following distance.
- Be aware of the clearance to the side as well as the front of your vehicle. Leave four feet between the vehicle and curb or parked car. Don’t forget overhead clearance too. Allow “10 Feet” of clearance to be sure.