Rear-end collisions are the most common accidents between vehicles.1 They occur when drivers do not have enough time to perceive and react safely to slowing or stopped traffic. Increasing your following distance can help give you time to react when someone brakes in front of you.
The Three-Second Rule
Increasing the distance between you and the car ahead can help give you the time you need to recognize a hazard and respond safely. The National Safety Council recommends a minimum three second following distance.2
Determining the three-second gap is relatively easy. When following a vehicle, pick an overhead road sign, a tree or other roadside marker. Note when the vehicle ahead passes that marker, then see how many seconds it takes (count 1-1,000; 2-1,000; 3-1,000) for you to pass the same spot. If it is not at least three seconds, leave more space and increase your following distance.
Think of following distance in terms of time, not space. With a standard of 2.5 seconds, highway engineers use time, rather than distance, to represent how long it takes a driver to perceive and react to hazards. The National Safety Council also uses this standard (plus a little extra for safety) when recommending the three-second rule for following distance.3
Sometimes Three Seconds Is Not Enough
The three-second rule is recommended for passenger vehicles during ideal road and weather conditions. Slow down and increase your following distance even more during adverse weather conditions or when visibility is reduced. Also increase your following distance if you are driving a larger vehicle or towing a trailer.
Distractions, such as texting, reaching for a drink or glancing at a navigation device, also play a role in rear-end collisions. Even if you use the three-second rule, you may not have time to react to a hazard if you are distracted. It is another reason why you should avoid distractions while driving.4
Nine out of 10 Americans drive to their travel destination.¹
If you are among those planning to hit the road, remember: safe driving starts before you even leave the driveway. Securing luggage, maintaining vehicle balance and keeping clear lines of sight from the driver’s seat is key.
Learn how to pack your vehicle for safer travels in these videos with Travelers specialist Chris Hayes — and make your road trip a memorable one, for all the right reasons.
As a caring parent, you have tackled your share of difficult talks with your children, from bullying to underage drinking. Now, as your teen prepares to get behind the wheel, get ready to have “the talk” about safe driving. It may be the most critical conversation that you have with your child.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death among teen drivers, according to theCenters of Disease Control and Prevention.
Due to driving inexperience, teens are more likely to be involved in an accident than other drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.
Based on research, here are five tips to help your “talk” about safe driving be more effective:
Be confident. Know that you can positively influence your child’s behavior behind the wheel.1
Be a safe driver yourself (if you are not already). Teens tend to follow your example.2
Know the facts about teen driving. Some teens increase their already high collision risk by speeding, drinking, driving at night, having peers as pass
engers, and being distracted. Your state likely has Graduated Driver Licensing laws to discourage such risky behaviors among new drivers. Learn about them. And resolve to enforce them, along with other like-minded parents.
Approach your talk like a great coach. Stay calm, and set clear expectations and consequences regarding dangerous driving behaviors mentioned above. Also, put expectations in writing in a simple parent-teen driving contract. And give lots of encouragement. Kids, including adolescents, respond best to positive reinforcement.3
Stay involved. Keep a close eye on your teen’s behavior behind the wheel – even after obtaining a license. Continue to coach them about how to drive more safely. Learning to drive safely takes time, experience, judgment and skill. You may want to consider installing a monitoring device; it provides data on driving behaviors that need improvement. And, understand that you will need to have multiple “talks” with your child.
1 B. Simons-Morton, M.C. Ouimet, “Parent involvement in novice teen driving: a review of the literature,” Injury Prevention, 2006; 12 (Suppl l)i30-i37; Ferguson SA, Williams AF, Chapline JF, Reinfurth DW, DeLeonardis DM. Relationship of parent driving records to the driving records of their children. Accid Anal Prev.2001;33 :229– 234 2 Ibid 3 A. Kazdin, “The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child,” New York, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2008.
It can seem like bodily injury coverage and medical payments coverage are one and the same. After all, most people who are injured in an accident are going to have some type of bodily injury that requires them to seek medical care. The injured person would then seek out payment for that medical care from the appropriate insurance company. In actuality, though, these are two vastly different — and necessary — types of insurance.
Bodily Injury Coverage Explained
Bodily injury coverage is solely for those injuries incurred by other people that have been caused by you or other people on your insurance policy. If you or someone who is on your insurance policy is found to be at fault as the result of an accident, bodily injury coverage will pay out. Like nearly all states in the country, California requires that you maintain a certain amount of bodily injury coverage.
Medical Payment Coverage
While medical payment coverage is similar in that it pays out to a person who is injured during an accident, there the similarities end. This type of insurance pays for reasonable medical expenses to you as well as any passengers who were in the vehicle with you. Medical payments coverage pays out regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
In California, the minimum amount of bodily injury coverage you must maintain is $15,000 for one injured person and $30,000 for all injuries combined. Any expenses above those amounts would be your responsibility. While those amounts might seem high, considering how expensive healthcare is these days, you might want to make an appointment with your insurance company to go over your policy to make sure you have the right coverage.
Taking your fun off road ratchets up the fun quotient considerably. There is nothing quite like the thrill of hitting the rugged trails and backwoods roads in your ATV or dirt bike. Keep the fun flowing all year round by making sure that you have the right insurance before you head out on your favorite recreational vehicle.
Don’t Make Insurance Assumptions
The last thing you want to do is assume that your current insurance will cover any mishaps that might occur involving your ATV or dirt bike. The reality is that this is not likely to be the case. In nearly all instances, your homeowners’ insurance and auto insurance will not cover any damages incurred by or to your off road recreational vehicles. For example, if you wreck your ATV on your own property, it is not likely that your homeowners insurance will pay for it.
Taking Your Recreational Vehicles out in Public
California is blessed with a gorgeous climate and many different types of terrain. Taking your dirt bike or ATV to one of the many recreational areas that exists within the state adds variety to your hobby time while also giving you much needed space to test your speed and agility. Before you make plans to do so, though, you need to make sure that you have the necessary insurance as required by California.
Specialized Insurance for Specialized Equipment
Speaking with your insurance company about your ATVs and dirt bikes can help them craft a unique insurance plan for you. This plan will provide you with the liability, collusion and comprehensive insurance that covers any issue that might arise while you are enjoying your hobby.
The moment has finally arrived — you’ve done all the research, test driven your favorites and decided on the brand new car you want to buy. You simply need to make a down payment, call your insurance company and drive that baby home. Since you have full coverage on your brand new wheels, you’re all set in case the unthinkable happens, right? Not so fast!
Insurance and Your Vehicle
It’s a well-known fact that the minute you drive your vehicle off the car lot, it starts depreciating. This is because your brand new car is now considered to be used and its value declines sharply. In fact, the average car loses about 30 percent of its value in the first year alone. This is important to know because without gap insurance, your insurance coverage may pay only for its current value, not what it would cost you to replace it.
Gap Insurance Explained
Gap insurance is designed to cover the shortfall that often exists between the amount your insurance company is willing to pay for your vehicle and what it would cost you to replace it. While you might think this amount is nominal, it could add up to being several thousand dollars. This could make it difficult for you to enjoy a comparable vehicle.
Do You Need Gap Insurance?
There are certain situations when you should consider gap insurance — if you put less than 20 percent down, if your car loan is for five or more years, if you put more than 15,000 miles on your vehicle each year, if you combined negative equity from another vehicle into your current loan or if you lease your vehicle. If you own your vehicle outright or if you have a great deal of equity in it, you probably don’t need gap insurance.