Fleet Safety Newsletter – March 2018

Preventing Rear End Collisions

Being involved in a “Rear End” collision is a problem. This accident type represents more than one quarter of all crashes. You can minimize the likelihood of being involved in a rear-end collision by maintaining a space cushion that is appropriate for the driving conditions.

A proper space cushion must provide you time to see and recognize a hazard and make a decision regarding what needs to be done. Then, there must be adequate space to bring your vehicle to a stop. For “normal” driving on dry roads, a car or a small van needs a minimum of three-second space cushion, a bus or a truck requires a minimum of four seconds and a tractor-trailer must have at least five seconds. If driving over 40 mph, you need to add one second to the above rule, and if driving on wet or slippery roads, another second must be added.

Measuring the space cushion is easy. When the vehicle ahead in your lane passes a highway mark, start counting – one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three. If you arrive at the same point before you finish counting, you do not have an adequate space cushion and need to allow more room between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead.

To have a safe following distance and minimize the likelihood of rear-end collisions, the space cushion concept must be followed all the time – during stop-and-go rush hour traffic as well as traveling on the interstate or rural highways. At slower speeds, a three second space cushion doesn’t require as much distance as it does at higher speeds and consequently, you can maintain it relatively easy even in slow moving traffic (at 15 mph, three seconds equates to 66 ft. while at 40 mph, three seconds equates to 174 ft.).

Some people argue that you cannot maintain a proper space cushion when traffic is heavy and fast, like you would find on interstates in most major metropolitan areas. The truth of the matter is that unless you are one of those in the left hand “fast” lane trying to “make time”, it is possible to keep a safe following distance, have an adequate space cushion, and to be less frustrated and tense at the end of your drive.

Telematics data supports the fact that you can maintain a space cushion safely. In fact, drivers that maintain an adequate space cushion often have better driver behavior scores as measured by these systems. Drivers that claim they can’t maintain a space cushion in heavy traffic are often times the same drivers that will have unfavorable scores for speeding, hard braking, aggressive acceleration & poor lane handling. The old adage that says, “20% of the drivers will cause 80% of the collisions” can now be actually measured using telematic systems that include driver behavior scores. Those that score poorly will more than likely be the same drivers contributing to the frequency of motor vehicle collisions. The facts do not lie!

Anyone can maintain the proper space cushion, that is, if you want to and work at it. If you have telematics in your vehicle, maintaining a space cushion can help improve your driver behavior scores. Safe Driving does not happen by accident. You make it happen. Get in the habit of always driving with the proper space cushion.


RMSC, an AssuredPartners company, has exercised due and customary care in producing this newsletter but has not independently verified information provided by others. No other warranty, express or implied, is made with regard to the content of this newsletter. Therefore, RMSC and AssuredPartners assume no liability from any loss resulting from errors, omissions or misrepresentations made by others.  The use of this information by third parties shall be at their own risk and RMSC and AssuredPartners accept no duty of care to any such third party.

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