Safe distancing isn’t just for public spaces…

In a post shared across their social media channels, Abu Dhabi Police have confirmed that their patrols, fixed radars and smart systems have managed to record and fine a total of 13,759 tailgating incidents so far this year.

That’s vehicles not leaving enough space between their car, and the car in front.

Abu Dhabi Police’s announcement did not clarify whether this number included fines for the vehicle in front, as there is provision for this within the law.

The penalty for not leaving sufficient space is a Dhs400 fine and four black points.

Abu Dhabi Police have been warning about the dangers of this driving practise for some time now. It represents a major cause of accidents on the roads globally.

Some studies link the act to as much as one-third of all road traffic accidents.

There is no excuse

Regardless of how frustrating it might feel driving behind what some would consider ‘slow drivers’ can be, there is never an excuse to endanger your own life and the lives of other road users.

Within the emirate of Abu Dhabi there are plenty of fixed signs and digital displays on smart gates warning motorists of the requirement to ‘keep a safe distance’.

What is a safe distance?

On some of the roads in Abu Dhabi, there are clear demarcations placed on the tarmac as a visual spacing guide to help you maintain appropriate stopping distances away from the car in front.

Road Safety UAE is an organisation that aims to reduce the number of accidents on our nation’s roads by educating motorists and working directly with government entities.

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As well as being a great resources for locally relevant statistics and studies, the website also offers information on how we can all be better, safer drivers.

Their advice on driving distances includes:

  • Use the “three-second rule” under normal road and weather conditions:
    • when the vehicle ahead of you passes a certain point such as a sign, count “one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand-three.”
    • Counting these numbers takes approximately three seconds. If you pass the same point before you finish counting, you are following too closely.
  • In low visibility situations like in bad weather, increase this rule to the “five-second-rule“:
    • consider this in sand/dust storms, fog or rain
  • Use common sense and use the “five-second-rule’ in dangerous situations – this gives you time to react (think tire debris on highways!).
  • Give plenty of space to motorcycles, as they are more vulnerable
  • High-end cars often come with a distance warning system and even ‘adaptive cruise controls’ – consider this in your purchase decision and activate this functionality

The total stopping distance of a vehicle is made up of four components.

  • A) Human Perception Time … time the brain reacts to danger
  • B) Human Reaction Time …  time the body reacts to brain commands
  • C) Vehicle Reaction Time … determined by:  brake pedal free play, hydraulic properties
  • D) Vehicle Braking Capability … depending on: tire pressure, weight, weather and street conditions

Travelling at 120kph, there’s an absolute minimum stopping distance of 107 metres. It’s 141 metres at 140kph.

There’s a handy ‘Car Stopping Distance Calculator’ available on the random science tools website.

Images: Getty