2.7 – Managing Space To be a safe driver, you need space all around your vehicle. When things go wrong, space gives you time to think and to take action. To have space available when something goes wrong, you need to manage space. While this is true for all drivers, it is very important for large vehicles. They take up more space and they require more space for stopping and turning. 2.7.1 – Space Ahead Of all the space around your vehicle, it is the area ahead of the vehicle--the space you're driving into -that is most important. The Need for Space Ahead. You need space ahead in case you must suddenly stop. According to accident reports, the vehicle that trucks and buses most often run into is the one in front of them. The most frequent cause is following too closely. Remember, if the vehicle ahead of you is smaller than yours, it can probably stop faster than you can. You may crash if you are following too closely. How Much Space? How much space should you keep in front of you One good rule says you need at least one second for each 10 feet of vehicle length at speeds below 40 mph. At greater speeds, you must add 1 second for safety. For example, if you are driving afoot vehicle, you should leave 4 seconds between you and the vehicle ahead. Ina foot rig, you'll need 6 seconds. Over 40 mph, you'd need 5 seconds fora foot vehicle and 7 seconds fora foot vehicle. See Figure 2.12. To know how much space you have, wait until the vehicle ahead passes a shadow on the road, a pavement marking, or some other clear landmark. Then count off the seconds like this "one thousand- and-one, one thousand-and-two" and soon, until you reach the same spot. Compare your count with the rule of one second for every ten feet of length. If you are driving afoot truck and only counted up to 2 seconds, you're too close. Drop back a little and count again until you have 4 seconds of following distance (or 5 seconds, if you're going over 40 mph. After a little practice, you will know how far back you should be. Remember to add 1 second for speeds above 40 mph. Also remember that when the road is slippery, you need much more space to stop.