'Back Off Me': Following too closely leading cause of crashes

Assured clear distance citations were issued 3,521 times in Lucas Co. in 2012.

Raise your hand if you're a driver who has ever been followed by an impatient or aggressive driver. Now, put your hand down and read on.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, motorists following a vehicle too closely was the primary cause of 65,580 crashes in 2012. Of those crashes, 58 people were killed and another 18,522 injured.

Drivers traveling at 65 mph are moving at 95 feet per second. The average person takes 1.5 seconds to perceive a road hazard and react by hitting the brakes. In 1.5 seconds, that driver has traveled a little over 142 feet. "Do the math - if that driver was following too closely, there is no time for them to stop before they hit the rear end of the vehicle in front of them," said Lt. Kevin Thomas, Defiance Post Commander. "That is why it is important to always maintain a safe following distance."

Ohio Revised Code states that drivers should allow enough space between their vehicle and another vehicle ahead of them so that an overtaking vehicle may enter and occupy that space without danger. With that, state troopers are reminding drivers to ensure a safe distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them.

In 2012, OSHP's Findlay district made 5,979 arrests for following too closely. Of those arrests, 3,521 were made in Lucas County.

Troopers say a good rule of thumb to avoid following too closely is to maintain a distance of three seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. A trick is to use a light pole or sign post as a landmark to begin your count.


What do you do if you find yourself being followed too closely on the road? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.