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How to judge distance

Good drivers can accurately judge the distance they will travel at different speeds and how long it will take them to get there, allowing them to avoid possible crash situations, traffic hold-ups, and predict when they may need to slow down or speed up.

Activity: Judging distance

  • Get a stopwatch and practice until you can use it accurately without looking.
  • As a passenger, wait for the car to be travelling at a steady speed. Choose a point or object or near the side of the road that you think is about three seconds away, and immediately start the stopwatch.
  • Stop the stopwatch when the front bumper of your car gets to the object.
  • Check the stopwatch - if you have good judgement you will see a reading that is extremely close to three seconds.
  • If the reading is more than 3.1 seconds or less than 2.9 seconds, keep practicing.  You will soon improve your accuracy.
  • When you are good at judging three seconds at different speeds, try judging a point five seconds ahead of you, then 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 60. Keep practising until you become accurate.

Some people judge distance in car lengths - the problem with this is there is no way of checking it. A stopwatch gives you accurate feedback.

Play the Road Space game to practice judging distance.

Next activity: how to judge car speed – yours and others.

 

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