What Does Visual Lead Time Mean?

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The visual lead time is the distance of attention that a driver should pay attention to. The driver should anticipate traffic movement and potential hazards for the visual lead time. This includes scanning sidewalks and the road while making adjustments to the car’s speed or position as necessary.

When driving within the city, this visual lead time should be 12 to 15 seconds and in rural areas is should be 20 to 25 seconds ahead on the road. It is all about managing the space and time needed to react to potential dangers on the road. It is always important to keep a safe distance between the car and the vehicle directly ahead. The minimum distance that should be between cars is 2 seconds, creating a safety buffer. This spacing gives adequate breaking distance should there be an incident ahead. For a car traveling at more than 40 miles per hour, a safety buffer of four seconds should be observed.

When driving it is also important to check the mirrors and observe the areas surrounding the vehicle. The rear view mirror should be used once every 8 to 10 seconds, and the driver should check the mirrors when a stop is anticipated. The driver should be aware of vehicles on both sides of the car and especially in his or her blind spots.