The cart is empty

Cannot find your purchased courses? Click here to Login!

Space management & following distance are key components to pass your road test, regardless of class - watch the video!

Road Test | Following Distance



One of the competencies that you have to demonstrate on your road test is space management. Underpinning space management is following distance. Many students are somewhat confused or not quite clear on what following distance is or why we measure in time. So today we're not talking to you about following distance and how to determine that and why it's determined in time as opposed to distance and we'll get you ready for your road test.


Driver's License Checklist

• A driving test is a high stress situation.

• Authorities demand a high level of skill, ability & knowledge.

• Be fully prepared with this checklist!!



The following distance for a passenger vehicle is 2 seconds minimum under ideal condtions. For lager vehicles--RV, truck, or buss--it is 5 seconds minimum under ideal condtions.Following Distance

In your road test for cars and light trucks you need to maintain the following distance of two seconds; for commercial vehicles it's closer to five seconds, especially the bigger the vehicle is. Obviously if you're in an ambulance it's going to be three to four seconds or a small bus. The size of the vehicle determines the following distance and as the vehicle gets bigger the greater the following distance. The way that we measure following distance is by time. We're following another vehicle - we look for a fixed object along the roadway. When that vehicle in front of us passes that fixed object we begin to count; one crocodile, two crocodiles. When we go past the same fixed object, that's when we stop counting. Whatever we got to - 2 crocodiles, 3 crocodiles, four crocodiles, or five crocodiles. That is the amount of distance that you are following the other vehicle in front of you. The reason that we measure in time as opposed to distance: saying you're following another vehicle at three car lengths is kinda like saying, "well how long is a piece of string?" We don't really know!

Why Following Distance is Measured in Time

We can determine however, if we measured by time exactly how far we are behind that vehicle. If you're traveling at a speed zone of 60 kilometers an hour you're traveling at approximately 17 m/s, therefore if you're maintaining a two-second following distance behind the vehicle in front of you - at sixty kilometers an hour you're at approximately 34 meters behind the vehicle in front of you. If you go out onto the highway and increase your speed to a hundred kilometers an hour - you're travelling distance is now 28 meters per second at a hundred kilometers an hour. So at a two second following distance your following distance is now 56 metres as opposed to 34 meters that you were doing 60 kilometers an hour. So what you can see is as the speed increases so does the distance between vehicles. This is now why we use time because the distance between the vehicles expands and contracts with increasing speeds. And speed is the most important factor in determining how fast a vehicle will stop. That is now why we measure following distance in time as opposed to distance.


In conclusion, for the purposes of a road test, you have to have space management. Underpinning space management is following distance because the space in front of your vehicle is the one space around your vehicle that you can always always always control. Two seconds for light trucks and cars, for commercial vehicles it's five seconds following distance. The one old rule that's still on the books: commercial vehicles following outside of an urban area can follow at two hundred feet. They still haven't taken that off the books but it still in the manuals if you look hard enough.

Log in to comment
Most drivers that have had their driver's license for more than six months wouldn't pass an on-road test.

Could You Pass a Driver's Test? Probably NOT

Category: Pass Driver's Test Author: Rick
I asked smart driver over on the Smart Drive Test YouTube channel if they thought they could pass an on-road driver's test. Just slightly more than 1/3 of smart driver's answered the question honestly and accurately. Of the 2/3 of smart drivers that think…
Learn all the tips and techniques to both drive in the winter and pass your on-road driver's test.

Yes...Take Your Driver's Test in the Winter

Category: Winter Driving Smart Author: Rick
There are many excellent reasons why you should take your driver's test in the winter time. I know...I know - you've listened to all the negative rhetoric. All the negative nellies that say: "IF YOU DRIVE IN THE WINTER, YOU WILL DIE....YOU WILL DIE!"
Giving driving lessons to Charlie in preparation for him to take his on-road driver's test.

The Secret to Learning to Drive

Category: Pass Driver's Test Author: Rick
Here we show you the secret ingredients to become a better, smarter driver faster.
These 5-section-head signals direct traffic through complex intersections. It is a regular traffic light that controls right turns and public transit.

Doghouse Traffic Lights

Category: Signs, Signals & Road Markings Author: Rick
Learn how to turn right on a red light to pass your road test.
Often, U turns can be done at T intersections in low density traffic without incident or interference.

How to Do A U-Turn

Category: Turning Author: Rick
Learn how to do a U-Turn to pass your road test - watch the video.
A new driver successfully passes his road test...FIRST TIME! Get your Driver's Test Checklist!

How to Back Into Parking Space

Category: Pass Driver's Test Author: Rick
Want to know how to Reverse Stall Park for your driver's licence road test? Watch the video.
A new driver successfully passes his road test...FIRST TIME! Get your Driver's Test Checklist!

Turning Left at "Left Turn Signal"

Category: Signs, Signals & Road Markings Author: Rick
Beware the "Left Turn Signal" - it could be the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing on your driver's test.
Default Image

How NOT to Turn Left | Traffic Smart

Category: Pass Driver's Test Author: Rick
"Near-miss" driving experiences - tell us yours! Watch the video to see that you can't sit in an intersection on a highway!
Traffic light exclusively controlling left turning traffic.

Traffic Light for Left Turning Traffic

Category: Pass Driver's Test Author: Rick
BEWARE--The left-turning traffic is controlled by the traffic light on the left. If the traffic light on the left is red and the other traffic light is green, left-turning traffic cannot turn. I once had a student fail his road test because he moved to turn…
Default Image

How to Turn Left to Pass a Road Test

Category: Pass Driver's Test Author: Rick
Turning left is a complex manoeuvre that often proves daunting for new drivers. Watch the video to learn the steps.

© Smart Drive Test Inc. 2024.

Contact Us: [email protected]