DISTANCE BETWEEN MOVING VEHICLES

  1. VEHICLE LENGTH FOR EACH 10 MPH
    Aside from the 2-second rule, here is another way to determine the distance between moving vehicles. To judge the distance necessary between two vehicles in moving traffic you may use one (1) car length for every ten (10) miles per hour. This should be a sufficient distance for making a safe stop in most any situation. Example: If a vehicle was traveling at 50 mph, a distance equal to 5 car lengths should be available to make a stop.

    If we should estimate (rounding off) each vehicle length as being 20 feet, at 50 mph this would necessitate a distance of 100 feet. The question may arise that approximately 250 feet are needed to make a controlled stop and the one car length for each 10 mph rule would not facilitate that distance. It must be realized that the vehicle being followed will need approximately the same distance to stop and would displace the area it now occupies. However, if the brake lights of the vehicle in front have illuminated, then about 55 of this 100 feet space would not be available, since the driver has gone through this reaction distance. The speed of the reaction of the following driver would decide how much of the remaining distance would still be available.

DRIVING IN HEAVY TRAFFIC
If you are driving in heavy traffic, keep pace with the other traffic and stay in your selected lane. Keeping pace means, staying within the legal posted speed limit. There are no exceptions within the law that permit anyone to exceed the posted speed limit. If a change of lanes is necessary, initiate this maneuver well in advance, since heavier traffic may delay this maneuver.” “

SKIDDING
The importance of giving techniques for responding to skids is because statistically, an average of 10,000 people die and 300,000 are injured each year in skidding accidents. (Liberty Mutual Skid Control School). Whenever a skid occurs, there’s no time to think about it and plan your recovery. You have to know how to control a skid so well that your reaction is an automatic reflex action, in the right direction at the right time.

It’s impossible to tell you how to put your knowledge of skidding to work. You can read about techniques, but it’s something you’ll have to learn yourself, behind the wheel of a skidding car. Basically, the main cause of skidding is driving too fast for existing conditions. Some factors that play a part in skids are: road surface, construction, slope and temperature; the vehicle’s suspension, weight distribution, center of gravity and type of tire; and of course, most important, the skill of the driver.

A key factor that governs what will happen are the tires, since these are the points where the vehicle comes in direct contact with the road. This contact, called friction or grip, allows the car to start, stop or corner. Friction is greatest when the wheel is stationary; friction between a rolling wheel and the road is slightly less; and friction is least when the wheel is locked and sliding. By this information you can see that friction between the tire and the road is not constant and may vary to a point where there is almost none at all. To further complicate this, sand, ice or water on the road will decrease friction greatly. It might also be good to remember that as your speed increases, friction will decrease.

A good example of this is called hydroplaning, which happens when driving on a wet road. When the depth of the water exceeds the depth of the tread, complete hydroplaning can be expected. This usually starts at about 35 mph and increases with speed to about 55 mph. At this point the tires can be totally up, on the water, and not even touch the roadway. No friction would be available for braking, accelerating or cornering.

There are several things that can develop a skidding situation. Unbalanced brakes: the front brakes may lock and you will lose all steering control and continue moving straight; the back brakes will lock and the rear will spin around; most commonly, jamming on the brakes causing all four wheels to skid, and this braking action will be a natural reaction to regain control; accelerating too fast causing the rear to fishtail sideways; and attempting a turn or curve at too great a speed.

There are three basic rules and techniques that can be applied to help control skidding:

DON’T USE BRAKES IF POSSIBLE
Do not use the brake until steering control is reestablished. If braking is necessary, use the technique of stabbing, by applying the brakes in a series of quick thrusts. Holding this for a split second, then releasing, repeating this about every half second. This shifts the weight to the front end of the vehicle and gives the tires better traction, but it only lasts for a moment at a time. It is most effective, however, to stay away from the brakes and let the tires reestablish rolling friction on their own.

DO NOT USE THE ACCELERATOR
Do not use the accelerator. This may cause the loss of any traction left on the rear wheels.

COUNTER STEERING
Counter steer to correct for the skid. Counter steering is turning the steering wheel in the same direction that the rear of the vehicle is skidding. This is the most important corrective step that anyone can learn. Up to a certain point, a vehicle can be kept under control if you counter steer correctly and your reaction to a skid must be fast and accurate. There is a critical angle – if you haven’t regained control of your vehicle before it spins about 25 degrees, you won’t be able to keep it from spinning completely around.

DISABLED ON THE HIGHWAY
If your vehicle should become disabled for some reason, in most cases enough momentum is left to drift onto the shoulder of the highway.
If you should become disabled and still are on the traveled portion of the highway, the first effort should be made to get this vehicle off, onto the shoulder. Until this is possible, all persons should be evacuated from the vehicle and directed to the shoulder of the highway in a safe place. Someone should be placed (or the driver, if alone) in a position to warn other drivers of this obstacle on the roadway. The other drivers should be warned well enough in advance to avoid the hazard. This would mean a distance determined by the speed of the vehicles using the highway. Under no circumstances should this vehicle be abandoned and left on the traveled portion of the highway.” “

SEAT BELTS

SEAT BELTS REQUIRED 22-412
Every motor vehicle registered in the state after June 1, 1964 shall be equipped with 2 sets of seat belts each for both front and rear seats of said vehicle.

MANDATORY SEAT BELT USE 22-412.3
A person may not operate a motor vehicle unless the driver and front seat passenger are restrained by a seat belt or a child safety seat. A seat belt violation is a “stand alone” violation, that is, a vehicle operator does not have to be stopped for another violation in order to receive a citation for “failure to use seat belts”.

CHILD SAFETY SEATS (22-412.2)
A “child safety seat” means a device manufactured in accordance with the 1981 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act Standards and is used to restrain, seat, or position a child who is transported in a motor vehicle. This applies only to Class A (passenger), Class E (truck) 3/4 ton or less, or Class M (multipurpose) vehicles registered in this state.
Any person transporting a child under the age of 4 or weighing 40 pounds or less, regardless of age shall be transported in a safety seat.
Any person transporting a child at least 4 years old but under the age of 16 shall secure the child in a safety seat; or secure the child in a properly fastened seat belt or combination seat belt – shoulder harness.

Any person convicted of a violation of this section is subject to a fine. Statistics show that 75% of accidents involving death or injury occur within 25 miles of the victim’s home; that 50% of accidents occur at speeds under 40 miles per hour.

Some drivers say that it is better to be thrown clear of the vehicle, yet research shows that you’re at least five times more likely to be killed if you are thrown out of the car. If the vehicle catches fire or goes under water, seat belts will keep the driver from being injured, keeping them more alert and capable of escaping more quickly. Less than one-half of 1% of all injury producing collisions involve fire or submersion. Even though most drivers are aware of these figures some do not use seat belts.

There are two kinds of belts, lap and shoulder, that can be used separately or in combination. The lap belt reduces impact force and keeps the occupant from being thrown out of the vehicle. The shoulder belt is especially effective in keeping the head and chest from hitting the steering wheel or instrument panel.
The purpose of using seat belts is hopefully for keeping persons from injuries and fatalities in automobile accidents.

When your vehicle is stopped by a fixed object (i.e. traveling at 60 mph and crashing into a brick wall), the vehicle will stop, but the people will continue to travel at the same speed the vehicle was traveling at before it was stopped (when not restrained). These persons will continue to travel until something gets in their way, such as the steering wheel, dashboard, maybe the windshield, they may even go through the windshield and something else will stop them, causing serious injury or death.

However, if the seat belt is being used, this “might” stop the person within the vehicle and lessen injuries or hopefully prevent him from being killed. We say “might” because the seat belt is not 100% effective.

The seat belt does restrain and actually tie you to the vehicle. When the vehicle’s progression stops, your progression stops. When having a collision, which without a seat belt would remove you from the driver’s position, there is no way the vehicle can be brought under control again until it finally comes to rest. Wearing a seat belt under these circumstances will keep you behind the steering wheel and you may be able to direct and control the vehicle from other hazards under these circumstances.