The many lapses in the driving discipline of motorists in the UAE continue to be a problem and one of the most dangerous forms of this indiscipline is the habit of drivers to ignore a golden traffic rule: Keep enough distance between vehicles. The latest casualties in this regard occurred this week when three people were killed and eight injured in a collision between a minibus and a truck, because the minibus was moving too close behind the truck, eventually crashing into it.

The incident once again brought home the importance, and danger, of ignoring the distance factor when driving. Traffic researchers, employing sound scientific principles, have time and again focused on what is known as the ‘two-second rule’. This means that at any given point while driving, one should stay at least two seconds worth of stopping distance from the vehicle directly in front of you. The faster you drive, the more distance you need to maintain between vehicles because if there is a reason to brake suddenly, it should not be at the cost of your life or limb, or that of others.

The average time it takes an alert driver to think, react, and apply the brake is 1.5 seconds according to research and this can increase depending on the state of mind of the driver. It is a no-brainer to realise what can happen if the two-second rule is not being followed and an emergency arises.

In minibus collisions alone, 2017 recorded 51 accidents in which eight people died and 107 were injured. Every one of these incidents could have perhaps been avoided had the drivers followed the rules.