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What is a safe distance to follow a motorcycle?

The common rule that many drivers in Louisiana follow is what is referred to as the two-second rule. Basically, if a driver arrives at the same spot as the car in front of him in two or more seconds, he has a safe following distance.

The rule is a bit different, however, when it comes to following a motorcyclist. When a driver of a passenger car is trailing a motorcycle, she should leave up to four seconds of space between her vehicle and the motorcycle.

There are at least a couple of reasons for this. For one, motorcyclists prefer not to hit their brakes if they can avoid it, as braking is a bit more of a safety risk for them than it is for drivers of passenger vehicles. Instead, a motorcyclist will shift in to a lower gear or slowly decelerate, making it harder for the driver behind him or her to see that the motorcyclist is slowing down.

Moreover, the safety mirrors on a motorcycle are of a particular shape that makes objects behind the motorcycle appear quite a bit further back than they actually are. Even a careful motorcyclist may have a hard time judging how close a vehicle is behind the motorcycle when deciding to shift lanes or decelerate.

The two-second rule aside, the reality is that the only safe following distance is the distance in which a car can avoid colliding with the vehicle in front of it. When following motorcycles, this may mean that a driver needs to leave more distance between his vehicle and a motorcycle. If a driver fails to do so and causes a motorcycle accident, the victim may have the right to pursue compensation.