Time for renewed focus on following distances

19 October 2012

Time for renewed focus on following distances

It is time to bring back the ‘only a fool breaks the two second rule’ campaign, says the AA.

As always, Labour weekend will see heavy traffic on a lot of our highways from this afternoon and the AA is urging drivers to focus on keeping a safe following distance when they are on the roads.

“A lot of people will remember the big campaign in the past around ‘only a fool breaks the two second rule’ but it is advice that seems to be being forgotten,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“If every driver this weekend made sure they kept at least two seconds gap between themselves and the vehicle in front it will make our roads safer and a lot more pleasant to drive on.

“The AA would like to see more being done to remind the average law-abiding motorist of things we can all do to be safer on the roads. Keeping a good following distance is at the top of this list.”

To check your following distance, start counting when the vehicle in front of you goes past a signpost or some other feature. If you reach that point before you can say “one thousand one, one thousand two” then you are following too close.

“As soon as you are within that two-second buffer, especially at 100kph, you do not have a good safety margin.

“If you happen to be looking in your mirrors or at your speedo at the same time that the car in front of you suddenly slows down then you are going to have to slam on your brakes.

“Keeping at least two seconds gap will give you time to react and brake more gently, which also lessens the chances of you being hit by the vehicle behind you.

“The weather forecast is for rain around a lot of the country over the weekend so, in the wet, drivers need to be increasing their following distance even more because it will take them longer to stop if they have to.”

The AA is pleased that the Police will be focussing on drivers going too fast, drivers going too slow holding up traffic, and safe following distances this weekend. Motorists are reminded that the lower speed tolerance of 4kph will be in place, as is the case for every holiday weekend now.

Drivers towing something or in a truck should also be aware that from this weekend speed cameras will be able to tell them apart from a standard car and they will be enforcing the 90kph limit for those vehicles.

“The AA’s final piece of advice for drivers is to leave the phone alone. It’s still far too common a sight to see someone talking or texting when they are behind the wheel, and there is simply no excuse for it.”

The AA endorses the Vodafone DriveSafe service, which Vodafone customers can use free of charge to reduce the urge to check their phone while driving.

Vodafone users can text ‘DRIVE ON’ to 760 when they are getting in a car and from that point on anyone texting the driver will automatically get a reply saying “I’m driving right now. I’ll read your TXT as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Once the user has finished driving they simply text ‘DRIVE OFF’ to 760 to turn the service off.

For more information contact:

Dylan Thomsen
Communications adviser
New Zealand Automobile Association
T. (04) 931 9991
M. 027 703 9935
Email: dthomsen@aa.co.nz

The New Zealand Automobile Association is an incorporated society with over one million members. It represents the interests of road users who collectively pay over $2 billion in taxes each year through fuels excise, road user charges and GST.

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