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Following Too Close

Anchorage is fast approaching that time of year when fender-benders are a daily occurrence.  In order to avoid being one of those numbers, there are a few things that each of us can do to reduce or completely avoid a collision. 

Following too close or “tailgating” is considered an aggressive driving behavior.  It is dangerous in all weather and road conditions and can have tragic consequences.  Last year in Anchorage, in a case of road rage that involved allegations of tailgating, a woman lost her life.  Because of the often poor driving conditions we experience each winter, the need for space - and patience - increases.

Anchorage Municipal Code 9.16.100, Following Too Close, governs what a motorist's actions should be when traveling behind another vehicle.The ordinance states that a driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard to the speed of such vehicle, the traffic and the conditions of the street.

There are two simple ways to ensure you are giving the vehicle in front of you appropriate room.  The first - commonly referred to as the "two second rule" - uses a stationary object on the side of the roadway, such as a light pole, to gauge distance.  When the vehicle in front of you passes that object, your vehicle should not pass it until a count of two seconds has elapsed.  The second, and perhaps easier method, is to allow at least two car lengths (at least 30 feet) between you and the vehicle in front of you, for every 10 miles per hour of speed.  If you are traveling on the Glenn Highway at 65 miles per hour, you should have a minimum of 195 feet between you and the vehicle in front.

This safe following distance allows a motorist space for driver reaction time, in order to stop on icy roads for obstructions or other traffic.  A vehicle traveling 65 miles per hour travels 95 feet per second; the average driver's reaction time to an emergency situation is 1 1/2 to 2 seconds.  Having almost 200 feet between you and the vehicle in front allows room to stop before a collision occurs, reducing the chance of injury or death.

Following too close is a 4 point violation and carries a fine of $90.00.

    • Police Department
    • Chief of Police : Mark Mew
    • 4501 Elmore Road, Anchorage, AK 99507
    • 907 786-8500