Tips for Safer Speed and Space Management

Public Auto - Tips for Safer Speed and Space ManagementPublic Auto - Tips for Safer Speed and Space Management

Driving too fast for road or weather conditions, tailgating, speeding, and failing to yield the right of way contribute to many vehicle crashes. They all boil down to one thing:  poor speed and space management.

Here are five ways you can be a safer driver by using good speed and space management skills.

1.  Scan the road ahead.  Pay attention to the geometry of the roadway, upcoming intersections and traffic signs and signals. Be aware of traffic entering and leaving the roadway. Monitor traffic far brake lights or other clues that there is a problem ahead.  Watch for stopped or disabled vehicles that may be blocking the roadway or causing traffic to slow down. Scanning the road ahead can help give you the extra time you need to react safely.

2.  Use caution during bad weather.  Slow down during poor road and weather conditions. Your ability to control and stop your vehicle decreases when roads are wet, especially if there is enough water on the road to cause you to hydroplane. If visibility is a factor, slow down to give yourself extra time to see and react safely. Be careful just after it begins raining. Oily deposits on the road, when mixed with water, can create slippery conditions.

3.  Follow at a safe distance.  What is a safe following distance?  That depends on the type of vehicle you are driving and other factors, such as road, weather and traffic conditions.  Here are some general standards safety professionals recommend for driving during ideal road and weather conditions:


To determine if you are maintaining the recommended safe following distance, select a fixed object, such as a telephone pole, by the side of the road.  When the vehicle ahead of you passes the pole, begin counting the number of seconds that elapse before you pass the pole. The number of seconds you count should be equal to or greater than the recommended safe following distance.

4.  Yield the right-of-way. Managing speed and space means more than monitoring your own driving. The speed other vehicles are traveling and their relationships to you are also important.  When crossing an intersection, make sure there is enough space to clear the intersection without impeding traffic. Depending on the size and weight of your vehicle, it could take extra time to turn and completely cross an intersection. Some intersections might be too hazardous to make a safe left turn. Making a series of right turns, or turning at a different location, might be safer options.  Be careful when passing other vehicles on two-lane roads. The gap between you and an oncoming vehicle could be closing at more than 100 mph. Also watch for turning vehicles, both the one you are attempting to pass and other vehicles that may be entering the highway from crossroads or driveways ahead.

5.  Use caution when turning and changing lanes.  Signal your intentions early, and use your mirrors to monitor traffic around you. Be on guard for distracted drivers who might not notice your signal or aggressive drivers who might fail to yield.  Avoid driving in another motorist’s blind spot, and keep an eye on drivers who move into your blind spot.

Although you cannot change the way other motorists drive, you can adjust your driving to lower your risk. Start by following good speed and space management techniques.

Doc#: LCT114

The information provided in this document is intended for use as a guideline and is not intended as, nor does it constitute, legal or professional advice.  Northland and Travelers do not warrant that adherence to, or compliance with, any recommendations, best practices, checklists, or guidelines will result in a particular outcome.  In no event will Northland, Travelers or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates be liable in tort or in contract to anyone who has access to or uses this information.  Northland and Travelers do not warrant that the information in this document constitutes a complete and finite list of each and every item or procedure related to the topics or issues referenced herein.  Furthermore, federal, state or local laws, regulations, standards or codes may change from time to time and the reader should always refer to the most current requirements.  This material does not amend, or otherwise affect, the provisions or coverages of any insurance policy or bond issued by Northland or Travelers, nor is it a representation that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any such policy or bond.  Coverage depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss, all applicable policy or bond provisions, and any applicable law. Texas Customers: Insurance provided by Southern County Mutual Insurance Company, administered by Northland Insurance Company. © 2016 Northland Insurance Company. All rights reserved.