What is the 2-second rule when driving?
The 2-second rule is rough guidance given to drivers to help estimate reaction times. The way to use the rule is to take note of the back of the vehicle ahead and a stationary object; once the back of the vehicle has passed the object (for instance, a road sign or street light) then say 'only a fool breaks the 2-second rule' at the normal speaking rate. If the front of your vehicle reaches that stationary point before you finish the sentence, you need to increase your travelling distance.
This rule is not a recommended travelling distance and is instead just used as a general rule of thumb for your MINIMUM travelling distance.
Understanding stopping distances is essential to being a safe driver beyond the Theory Test. Research by Safe Roads* has shown that around a third of all road deaths are caused by driving at the incorrect speed, and misjudging stopping distances.
If you reduce your speed by just 1mph, your chances of being involved in a serious accident falls by 5%.
If you hit a child while driving at 40mph – you’ll probably kill the child
If you hit a child while driving at 30mph – the child has an 80% chance of surviving
If you hit a child while driving at 20mph – the child will probably suffer minor injuries but survive