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Patrol: Following too closely is leading cause of crashes in 2012

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MARYSVILLE — Troopers of the Ohio State Highway Patrol report that motorists failing to maintain an assured clear distance or following too closely was the primary factor in 65,580 crashes in 2012.

Of these crashes, 58 people were killed and 18,552 were injured.

That is why troopers urge all motorists to ensure a safe distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them.

“Do the math — if that driver was following too closely, there is no time for them to stop before they hit the rear end of the vehicle in front of them,” Lt. Ron Raines, Marysville Post commander, said in a release. “That is why it is important to always maintain a safe following distance.”

Ohio Revised Code states that drivers should allow enough space between their vehicle and another vehicle ahead so an overtaking motor vehicle may enter and occupy such space without danger.

If a driver is traveling at 65 mph, they are traveling approximately 95 feet per second. In three seconds, he or she has already traveled nearly the length of a football field.

The average person takes approximately three-quarters of a second to perceive a hazard and an additional three-quarters of a second to react by applying the brakes, turning the wheel or whatever action they deem necessary to avoid the hazard. Traveling at 65 mph, in 1.5 seconds the driver has traveled a little more than 142 feet.

Drivers are also reminded that if they follow too closely they are diminishing their view of the big picture, meaning they are unable to see what is going on further down the roadway.

It is always important for drivers to be aware of their surroundings while operating a motor vehicle so they are able to react defensively.

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