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Other drivers often ruin safe following distances

On a motorcycle, it's critical to maintain a safe following distance. A rear-end accident may not hurt the driver in the car at all, but the biker could be seriously injured or even killed while slamming into the back of the vehicle.

The amount of distance you should keep between you and the next car varies depending on speed and other factors.

If you're going faster than 25 mph, some experts suggest keeping a three-second cushion. If you're going faster than 55 mph, increase that to four seconds. On the interstate, when going faster than 75 mph, you need a minimum of five seconds.

If you're traveling downhill, they suggest adding 10 percent to make up for gravity. If you're on a loose surface -- like a gravel road -- or a wet surface, you should add 25 percent.

One of the biggest problems with these cushions, though, is that other drivers may not respect them. If you're driving with four seconds between you and the next car, another driver may ruin it by jumping into the gap.

This is frustrating, and the reality is that most drivers have no real concept of how much cushion is needed. They don't even realize that what they're doing is reckless and dangerous. They just see an open space where a car will fit, and they take it.

Reckless drivers can cause accidents. As noted above, these are often more detrimental to motorcycle riders due to the small size of the bike and the lack of protection. If you're injured, be sure you know your rights to compensation.

Source: Bike Safer, "Stopping Distances Revisited.," accessed Oct. 05, 2017

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