Roadside Chat - Phil can't predict brake lights. Give others space.

2-3 phil can predict brake lightsCan a rodent really predict anything? Yesterday Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter. The quaint tradition in Gobbler’s Knob, Pennsylvania, first appeared in the local newspaper in 1886. While Phil has a 50/50 chance of being correct in his predictions about winter, we all know his shadow has nothing to do with the weather.

Other things Phil (or anyone else, for that matter) can’t predict include the behavior of other drivers on the road. Following too close to another vehicle, especially if there is snow or ice on the road, can be extremely dangerous.

Keeping a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you can mean the difference between a safe stop and a crash. On a clean, dry road, the rule of thumb is to keep a three-second gap between vehicles. To measure your following distance, pick on an overhead road sign, a tree, or another roadside marker. When the vehicle ahead passes that spot start counting (1-1,000; 2-1,000; 3-1,000) until you pass the same spot. The number is equal to the number of seconds between you and the other vehicle.

If roads are not clear or you are driving a larger vehicle, you’ll need additional distance to allow time to react to actions the driver ahead of you might make. 

Here’s more information about how to safely time the distance between vehicles -

So far this year in Iowa, 25 people have been killed in traffic crashes. That’s an increase of eight from last Friday. In Iowa in 2022, there were 338 traffic-related deaths. To see statistics published daily by the Office of Driver Services, go to the daily fatality report at

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