A person who drives a motor vehicle - whether its a car, truck or motorcycle - should be alert to look for the dangers of future traffic. The 12-second rule is designed to remind drivers that they need space to slow, stop or take evasive action if something happens on the road in front of them. Looking at the possible dangers of the road 12 seconds ahead, drivers are more likely to avoid a collision.
How it works
While driving, find an object in the distance. This could be an old barn, a panel or an exit ramp. Wait until a vehicle in front of your vehicle passes the object. Start counting. If your vehicle passes the object before you have counted to 12, you can not be giving you enough time to react to adverse driving conditions.
Experts in traffic safety say the 12-second rule is best used in case of bad weather or heavy traffic. A slightly shorter period - as 8 seconds - could work equally well during the day driving on dry roads with little traffic.
Many collisions are caused by people who are not looking far enough down the road to determine they need to stop or slow down. Using the 12-second rule can help avoid vehicle damage and the legal problems of accidents. The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, like many states, suggests looking further ahead - maybe 20 or 30 seconds - when driving at highway speeds or in bad weather.
If someone behind you does not follow the 12-second rule if necessary, it may be best to move to another lane highway or road pull aside to let the other driver.