Well, the title may get many thinking as to how come will one manage to gauge the ideal driving distance. There are many questions like how often does the one doing the driving get close to the car driving ahead. If the answer is that “I can actually see the items that they have placed on the parcel shelf plus a cockroach flying around”. If this is the answer that one expects to get from the driver and if it’s a chauffer driven vehicle, then its high time that the driver be fired. Coz this signals that the driver is close to running into the back of the car ahead and if it didn’t happen earlier, its not a guarantee that it wouldn’t happen in the future. One needs to be careful about their own driving rather than blaming the driver ahead of saying that he stopped suddenly.
Okay, first part done. The second part is that even if the car you are driving happens to have all wheel disc brakes plus ABS, EBD and what not added to it, one needs to apply the brakes and then only the brakes can function. Unless, your car happens to be a certain Volvo, it is imperative that all car drivers need to apply the brakes to slow down. The braking factor depends heavily on the reaction time of the driver and 1.5 seconds is what the average reaction time of a human being is. 1.5 seconds is a lot in terms of crash. If at all, one is habituated to sticking to the tail of the car ahead, then the reaction times need to be much lesser. Given the above scenario, its very hard to imagine that the chauffer would be able to stop the car without crashing into the one ahead.
Thinking practically, its not a good thing to keep a large distance between the car in front of you and your car. The point is that, even if you do keep a large distance, there are chances that some erratic autorickshaw driver or even motorcyclist would cut through and bridge the gap. Driving at a distance wherein one doesn’t get left behind but at the same time can stop well in time provided an emergency situation arises is the key. There is a rule called as the 3 seconds rule. Not that any government or any body has actually put in this rule, but this is a rule which is usually followed internationally.
Identifying a fixed point along the road like a lamp post or a particular signal is the key. If the car ahead of you passes this point, then make sure that only after counting upto 3 should your car pass the same point. This gap needs to be maintained in the same manner. This practice takes some time and ideally would be suggested on the open highways. A 3 seconds gap between the car ahead of you and your car would give you sufficient time for braking in case of any emergency maneuvers taken by the driver ahead. Also, the fact that you wouldn’t be behind the traffic would also come into picture.
Braking distances are also gauged by a number of factors like the condition of the brakes and the surface. An oil or wet surface means that the 3 second rule would be violated and the braking distance would increase significantly. In this case, the 3 second rule should be increased to 5-7 seconds depending on the conditions. The more the speed, the more the time it takes to bring the car to a complete halt.