View Poll Results: How much space do you typically leave between you and the car in front of you at a red light?
As little as possible 31 16.76%
5 - 10 feet 128 69.19%
A car length or more 7 3.78%
Depends 19 10.27%
Voters: 185. You may not vote on this poll

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-01-2011, 03:51 PM
Kevbo Kevbo is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,893

-I will usually pull up tight if next to a turn lane, so as to allow as much access to the turn lane as possible. IMO this is the only time pulling up tight is good form.

-I won't usually pull up if the cars ahead of me are edging forward. It just seems dumb when nobody is going anywhere until the light turns green anyway. Often this will leave an extra car length or even more for a while.

-In light traffic, I will usually slow early so as to not need to stop at all.

-One of my vehicles is pretty tall. If I pull up close to a small car at night, my headlights are mighty bright. I will usually stay a bit farther back, but if there is a reason to pull up, I will switch off the headlights until the light changes.

-I won't block intersections, and I may pull up tight or hang back as needed to allow someone to get out of a driveway.

-When on a motorcyle, I try to be where people behind would expect to find me, but also back far enough that I can split the lanes if my mirror indicates the car approaching behind me may not stop in time. Only had to actually do that once.

I have been rear-ended twice while waiting at a light. Being a bit farther back meant there was no damage to the front of my vehicle, and no issue with insurance claims or tickets, since my vehicle didn't rear-end anyone.
Old 01-01-2011, 04:26 PM
Jennmonkye Jennmonkye is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 168
I also wrote five to ten feet. I drive a smart car and it FREAKS me out when I feel like I can reach back through the rear window and touch the front bumper of the car behind me. Stop steaming up my tail!!!
Old 01-02-2011, 11:11 AM
ladyfoxfyre ladyfoxfyre is offline
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Florida
Posts: 4,630
What I see more and more often, and maybe this is just with an older generation, is when cars leave upwards of 15 feet in between them and the car in front of them. What the hell is the point of that? Double points if you are the first car in the line, and you leave 15 feet between you and the line. Especially if the light has a weight sensor that will not change the light until it detects a vehicle. I always want to yell at people I see doing this because it is a complete waste of space and has no purpose.
Old 01-02-2011, 09:39 PM
Cheshire Human Cheshire Human is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: NY, USA
Posts: 4,545
Ideally, I leave enough space to get out of there in an emergency. Enough so my turn radius will take me into the other lane (or over the sidewalk ), without bumping the car ahead. I'm guessing that amounts to about 5 to 10 feet, but I checked "Depends", instead, because it's a judgement call based on what else is in the way, so it could be longer.


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:29 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to:

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017