Need to know: Safe following distance

Post Date - Feb 21, 2023

It should come as no surprise that truck drivers have to make adjustments to their driving style when they get behind the wheel of their tractor. It’s part of the reason truck driving is such a noble career – it takes a lot of skill to do it right. Safe following distances are one of the hardest things to do right, if you don’t know the best practices. We’ve created a list of some of the need-to-knows about safe following distances in order to keep you safer behind the wheel.

Seconds count

When you’re traveling less than 40 miles per hour, you should give yourself at least one second to stop for every 10 feet between you and the leading commercial vehicle. If you’re travelling above 40 miles per hour, you should give yourself two seconds for every 10 feet. This will help to ensure that you have plenty of time to stop your truck without getting into a collision.

Watch the weather

If conditions are snowy or icy, it is best to increase the distance between your truck and the leading vehicle. You may need more time to gain enough traction to stop your truck in unfavorable conditions, and the person in front of you might need more time as well. Several studies have reported that a percentage of accidents happen directly due to unsafe following distances. It is always better to be safe rather than sorry – give yourself a generous amount of time to effectively apply your brakes and you’ll save yourself from a much larger headache (or injury!) further down the road.

Know the rules and regs

Montgomery Transport abides by all the Smith System principles regarding safe following distances. If you’re looking for more information on this safety topic, check out the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration’s webpage on safe following distances here.

Your carrier should always put your safety before anything else. Feel like they could be doing more? Check out the driving opportunities at Montgomery Transport today!