AARP Driving Resource Center

How to Create a Space Cushion While Driving

Keeping enough distance from other vehicles will ensure you have enough room to maneuver when you are behind the wheel

A space cushion is a buffer around your vehicle that you maintain to allow room to maneuver, if necessary. Know what is in your space cushion, scan frequently and maintain awareness of other vehicles.

See also: Learn how changes in your brain impact your driving

  • Keep at least a three-second following distance in front of you – four or five seconds in inclement weather.
  • If another vehicle is tailgating you, use your turn signal and change lanes, as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • If a driver near you is driving erratically or aggressively, put distance between you and the other driver by slowing down or changing lanes.

This extra space will help you move or maneuver in case of an emergency or hazardous situation. If you do not have an adequate space cushion on all sides, you must be extra alert. When driving in congested traffic, try to maintain a space cushion in the front and on at least one side. When traffic thins out, you can reestablish the space cushion all around your vehicle.



Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Advertisement

driver safety connect