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What is the reason that people stop a car length or so behing the car....

Frio Cielo
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in front of them at intersections? I see more and more instances where people are stopping a car length or so behind the car in front of them. Are they thinking the car in front might accidently put their car in reverse and back up?

I have seen gaps so large that I could have pulled into the space and straightened up my truck in front of them.

Not attempting to get into a huge debate, but just wondering what the purpose and need is to stay back 20 to 30 feet. What's the thinking here?

BCO07
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They are too busy staring at their phone to realize that they need to pull up more
hopeandrealchange
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They like me have most likely lived through a student who was not paying attention and rear ending them at 50 mph. They are leaving that space so if needed they can pull up as they see in the mirror what is about to happen and they are also hoping not to be pushed into the car in front of them. In the past three years I have had my truck totaled twice and had the joy of an ambulance ride because of stupid people not paying attention while they drive. I do anything I can to leave room for evasive actions. Hope this helps.
Ornlu
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Because of this:

If a car rear ends you and you hit the car in front of you, youre liable bease you stopped too close. If you stop 1.5 to 2 car lengths away, it wont happen.

The remedy is to stop far away, and then to creep up once a car stops behind you.
DBSwooper
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Frio Cielo said:

in front of them at intersections? I see more and more instances where people are stopping a car length or so behind the car in front of them. Are they thinking the car in front might accidently put their car in reverse and back up?

I have seen gaps so large that I could have pulled into the space and straightened up my truck in front of them.

Not attempting to get into a huge debate, but just wondering what the purpose and need is to stay back 20 to 30 feet. What's the thinking here?


I don't know about 20-30ft, but let's put some of this into perspective.

First, from a traffic safety stand point: If you're struck from behind and are pushed into the vehicle ahead the change in PDOFs and Deta-Vs that occur by striking the vehicle ahead of you can be a mechanism for greater injury. If you *really* care there are a bunch of SAE and NHTSA research that covers those topics.

Secondly, leaving maneuvering room is important if some other sudden emergency occurs. That could be as simple as an emergency vehicle approaching and the need to maneuver your vehicle out of the way. It could be much different or worse in which you are trying to get your vehicle clear of the crowd and escape.

In reality the first concept is more likely than the second, but you go ahead and plant your bumper on the vehicle in front of you, I'll keep taking steps to keep myself and my family safe.
FlyRod
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^This. In states where driver's ed is actually taught in schools, you are instructed to stay at least a full length behind the car in front.

Tailgating is a spectator sport in BCS so that basic common sense rule is simply ignored.
BCO07
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This isn't just a bcs thing. I've noticed it all over the past few years. It's a big change from when I first started driving when people would move up to the let other people fill in behind them so it doesn't take multiple cycles to get through the intersection.
Frio Cielo
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Ornlu said:

Because of this:

If a car rear ends you and you hit the car in front of you, youre liable bease you stopped too close. If you stop 1.5 to 2 car lengths away, it wont happen.

The remedy is to stop far away, and then to creep up once a car stops behind you.


I doubt that that accident occurred when all three vehicles were stopped at a light. It appears to me that all three vehicles began to move and the first car had to stop for some reason like a crossing vehicle was running the red light.

birdman
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I do it because it infuriates the jerk beind me at intersection. He gets to his destination about 1 second later and it eats him up.

I love small victories like that.
Frio Cielo
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FlyRod said:

^This. In states where driver's ed is actually taught in schools, you are instructed to stay at least a full length behind the car in front.

Tailgating is a spectator sport in BCS so that basic common sense rule is simply ignored.


Driver's Ed has changed. We were taught to stop far enough back so that you can see some the the car in front's rear tires.

BlazeHarper
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I would imagine it is a function of stupidity and not being aware. People drive in a fog these days and it is fascinating to watch their creative interpretation of traffic laws. I do not think they are stopping that far behind for any proactive reason regarding their safety. My top 5 "checked out" driving behaviors are

(1) driving in the bike lane (happens everyday on Victoria)
(2) following 40-50 feet behind a car turning in front of you (40 turning left into Arrington)
(3) not using a turn signal or turning it on 10-20ft before the actual turn
(4) not stopping behind the white line at intersections especially at 4 way stops
(5) talking/texting on phone

What is interesting/sad to me is how bad other parents drive in and around school dismissal times. I have seen kids walking home and biking home having to yield to cars because the drivers either do not see them or do not care. This is happening in school zones and in neighborhoods. They will gladly put you or your kids in harms way if you come between them and their commute. Many of the worst offenders are other moms with their kids in the car!! (Looking at you Castlegate)
Kitten With A Whip
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Frio Cielo said:

Ornlu said:

Because of this:

If a car rear ends you and you hit the car in front of you, youre liable bease you stopped too close. If you stop 1.5 to 2 car lengths away, it wont happen.

The remedy is to stop far away, and then to creep up once a car stops behind you.


I doubt that that accident occurred when all three vehicles were stopped at a light. It appears to me that all three vehicles began to move and the first car had to stop for some reason like a crossing vehicle was running the red light.


Can you not see the intersection, markings, traffic lights and other traffic indicating that they were INDEED stopped at a light? Sometimes I think you just like to be contrary and argumentative.
Aggie
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I do it
I don't trust other drivers .. I'm gonna give myself room to get outta the way and avoid someone running into me.
CS is home to some of the worst drivers imaginable.. And not all are college kids.

Drive by an elementary school and watch how many moms picking up their kids cannot drive a vehicle to save their lives.
motherrunnersBCS
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I have recently started doing this (maybe not that far back but definitely enough to see the bumper) when the person behind me has been tailgating me or the person in front of me has been driving erratically. Part of driving defensively. I don't text and drive, I do not understand how anyone else can be so stupid as to try it. I want room between me and the brick wall that is the other car. After the car behind me has stopped, I edge forward, but only if I can tell they are not on their phone. If they are on their phone, there is the danger that they will think the light has changed and accelerate into me before they actually take their eyes off their screen.
AggiePhil
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Always leave yourself a way out.
K2T2
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Like a zillion people already said, because if you get rear-ended and hit the person in front of you, you're at fault. Also, I drive a standard, and it's annoying as **** when people do the slow, intermittent scooching forward thing at lights, so I often end up further back behind a car than I stopped.
PDEMDHC
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I get 1 car length, but 3 or 4?

I see this way too much in Dallas lately from distracted drivers. Cracks me up when someone in another lane jumps into the gap.

PDEMDHC
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There should be an asterisk.

If your vehicle is preventing those behind from entering a turn bay and it's rush hour, scoot the $&@! Up!!!! You're causing a problem!
lightswitch
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I was thinking it would actually improve traffic flow:

When light turns green, if everyone had a gap between themselves and the car in front, you and others can start rolling.

If you are parked on their bumper it takes more time for the row of cars to accelerate and make it through the light.

GunRangeGal
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I've been that "in between" car before. I got slammed by a truck going ~50mph and was pushed into the car in front of me. I could see the person's tires in front of me before I got hit. Sometimes no matter how far back you are, you get pushed into the car in front of you.

Leaving a little room is great for keeping minor fender benders a two-car incident, allows you room to pull over in case an emergency vehicle needs through, and gives you recovery time if your foot slips off the break.
gettingitdone
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I was taught in driver's ed that you should be able to see the top of the tires of the car in front of you. The reason given was that if I were to be rear ended and hit the car in front of me, I am liable for those damages because I was stopped too close to the vehicle
doubledog
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I also drive a standard transmission. If you are at an intersection where it is up hill toward the light you need to slip the clutch just right so that I do not roll backward when the traffic starts from a dead stop. I have been driving a stick for 40+ years so I think I am pretty good at it. New drivers (with standard transmissions) not so much. Always give people some wiggle room.

OnlyANobody
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I, like many posters above leave some room. Many moons ago, I took drivers ed in school, up north and the bigger concern there was sliding, of course. You had to leave room in case someone around you starts (or you start) to slide so that you have options.

When it's not snowing/icy, you still need options for all the above reasons.
Stupe
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BlazeHarper said:

I would imagine it is a function of stupidity and not being aware. People drive in a fog these days and it is fascinating to watch their creative interpretation of traffic laws. I do not think they are stopping that far behind for any proactive reason regarding their safety. My top 5 "checked out" driving behaviors are


Stupid drivers don't leave space.

Really stupid drivers think that those of us that do leave space are stupid.
Rasslin Cheesehead
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That would be a big negative. My experience come from being the second car in a 4 car pileup. I was behind a car who stopped at a light. I'm in a suburban, the car behind me stops and the girl in the 4th car slams into car # 3 because she's texting on her phone. Miraculously she's unharmed other than her cars front end being smashed up. Driver in car#3 ends up in the hospital because she's accordianed between the two cars. My car hits the one in front, knocking it about 3 feet forward. Driver# 4's Daddy's insurance paid for the whole thing.
biobioprof
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Random thoughts on this
  • I suspect OP is exaggerating the distance
  • It probably speeds traffic overall to let the clueless driver in the lane next to yours merge late even if it's annoying and they don't "deserve" to cut in line
  • If you drive a compact, it helps to be able to see the light over the monster truck in front of you.
  • Some people have poor ability to visualize where the front end of their car actually is, and they'd rather be safe than sorry. These are the ones who go until they hit the curb when parking.
  • When I get annoyed at people slowing things down, I try to remind myself that it wouldn't be an issue if I had planned ahead well enough to leave earlier, or to have some perspective on how important it is to get somewhere a light cycle earlier.
  • Other factors in traffic design are probably a bigger factor in the backup anyway.
  • I, for one, welcome the arrival of our robot drivers!

bobinator
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lightswitch said:

I was thinking it would actually improve traffic flow:

When light turns green, if everyone had a gap between themselves and the car in front, you and others can start rolling.

If you are parked on their bumper it takes more time for the row of cars to accelerate and make it through the light.


Yeah, this is the reason I've always heard. If there's enough space in between all the cars, then basically everyone can start rolling when the light turns green. If you're tightly packed, you have to wait for the car in front of you to start going before you can start going.

hopeandrealchange
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How about all of you drivers who do not like the space those of us conservative drivers use buy more than the state minimum insurance policy. Then possibly when your underinsured ass totals our vehicle we are not out thousands of dollars. Almost a year later I am still doing battle with geico. Talk about a sorry insurance co. Wow they are rediculous.
Frio Cielo
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Kitten With A Whip said:

Frio Cielo said:

Ornlu said:

Because of this:

If a car rear ends you and you hit the car in front of you, youre liable bease you stopped too close. If you stop 1.5 to 2 car lengths away, it wont happen.

The remedy is to stop far away, and then to creep up once a car stops behind you.


I doubt that that accident occurred when all three vehicles were stopped at a light. It appears to me that all three vehicles began to move and the first car had to stop for some reason like a crossing vehicle was running the red light.


Can you not see the intersection, markings, traffic lights and other traffic indicating that they were INDEED stopped at a light? Sometimes I think you just like to be contrary and argumentative.



You have better eyes than me.

- I cannot see any of the lights whether they are red, green or yellow.

- I see an 18 wheeler on the cross street that appears to be stopped to make a left turn.

- I also see a small car on the cross street that is approaching the intersection but not stopped as it is not to the intersection.

- I see a truck next the wreck that appears to be stopped to make a left turn.


How can you tell that the wreck was not caused by the first car stopping abruptly while going into the intersection to avoid hitting a car speeding through the intersection on the cross street?


No argument here....it's call discussion.

Thank you anyway!


Actually, I don't disagree with people leaving the space, just wondering why and their logic. To each his/her own methods.

BlazeHarper
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I think you need to go back and reread the observation that Brother Frio was speaking to. He was talking about a space on the order of "20 to 30 feet" and "gaps so large that I could have pulled into the space and straightened up my truck". The scenario is a person who has created an inordinate amount of space between them and the car in front of them. I would not take this an argument against leaving space in front of you or the benefits it provides. We are talking a space on the order that when you see them you might begin to think "Are they broke down?", "Are they high?", "What is wrong with them?"


powerbelly51
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Quote:


How can you tell that the wreck was not caused by the first car stopping abruptly while going into the intersection to avoid hitting a car speeding through the intersection on the cross street?
Why does it matter? It is a good illustrative picture for why people leave distance between them and the car in front of them, either stopped or while driving.
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