The two-second rule
Your vehicle is your responsibility. You must be in control at all times.
You must keep your vehicle to a speed that allows you to stop it:
- safely, in a controlled way,
- on the correct side of the road,
- within the distance that you can see to be clear, and
- without risk or harm to you, your passengers and/or any other users of the road.
In traffic, the distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you is known as the safe headway. Keep a safe headway by ensuring you are at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front. This is known as the two-second rule. You can use the following steps to check if you are obeying the rule:
- On a dry road, choose a point like a lamp post or road sign.
- When the vehicle in front passes that point, say out loud "Only a fool breaks the two-second rule".
- Check your position in relation to your chosen point as you finish saying this. If you have already passed the point, you are driving too close to the vehicle in front and need to pull back.
- In wet weather, double the distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you by saying "Only a fool breaks the two-second rule" twice.
Use a fixed point to help measure a two-second gap.
REMEMBER Never drive closer than indicated by the two-second rule. If you drive too close to the vehicle in front (tailgating) and it brakes suddenly, you may not have enough time to react. If you run into the vehicle, you will be liable for any damage caused.
Avoid driving too slowly
In normal road and traffic conditions, keep up with the pace of the traffic flow while obeying the speed limit. While you must keep a safe distance away from the vehicle in front, you should not drive so slowly that your vehicle unnecessarily blocks other road users. If you drive too slowly, you risk frustrating other drivers, which could lead to dangerous overtaking.