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State Patrol urges safe following distances, alertness in work zones


WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) -  Following too closely behind cars and trucks can cause a lot of accidents and injuries. Lieutenant Steve Krueger from Wisconsin State Patrol says tailgating is a serious problem, and causes a lot of accidents.  He says following too closely leaves drivers no time to react.  "By shortening those following distances and tailgating, you leave yourself no time to react, and not only possibly cause crashes, but not able to avoid crashes if one were to happen ahead of you."

The faster traffic is travelling, the more space you need between vehicles. Krueger says one old guideline works pretty well for judging how much distance you need.  "Generally, a car length for every ten miles per hour, so at 55 miles per hour, it's about six car lengths" needed to keep a safe distance.

Following large trucks too closely can be especially hazardous. Krueger says the truck driver cannot see directly behind the trailer, which is a blind spot big enough to hide a car in.

Krueger says another big area of concern this time of year is how drivers behave in construction zones. He says it’s easy to get used to seeing orange barrels and cones, but we have to remember they might be moved often.  "The thing you've got to remember is those zones are constantly changing.  What might be a through lane today might be changed tomorrow, so you really have to pay attention as there's people out there working."

There are several large and small construction projects in the state. Krueger urges drivers to slow down and pay attention, adding fines double in work zones.