A reading of Delaware Law below clearly identifies “THERE ARE NO ABSOLUTES” for determining a legal following distance.

Motor Vehicles
Operation and Equipment

§ 4123. Following too closely.
(a) The driver of a vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.

FACT: Stopping distance is a factor in determining following distance.

FOLLOWING DISTANCE: There are two theories that dominate following distance.

1. Counting the number of seconds your vehicle trails the vehicle directly in front of you.

The counting technique is to find an object down the road and begin counting seconds when the vehicle to your front reaches that object. The counting stops when your vehicle reaches the same object. If you reach the target object in a shorter time than your predetermined safe following distance (number of seconds), an adjustment should be made.

2. “Smart Defense” by the “The D Team” suggests the driver of a motor vehicle keep their eyes on the road. Check your speed and maintain a minimum of one car length (14- 20 feet) for every 10 miles an hour you are traveling. This way the distance judgers are keeping their eyes on the road in front of them instead of searching for a yet to be discovered counting point.

Of course, no matter which technique you choose there are other factors that must be taken into consideration such as weather/road surface/traffic/etc. which would require an increase in following distance — “THERE ARE NO ABSOLUTES”.

Delaware Defensive Driving Course