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Fleet safety tip: Preventing rear-end collisions

Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of motor vehicle collisions. They account for roughly 1,700 deaths every year and injure 500,000 more. On average, there is a rear-end collision every eight seconds, according to the NHTSA.

Preventing rear-end collisions - Element Fleet Management

Rear-end collisions may be common, but they are preventable. Most rear-end collisions occur when vehicles are slowing or stopped and are caused by factors like distractions, following too closely, not anticipating hazards or inclement weather.

While you can’t control or anticipate how others drive, you can control your driving and limit distractions. Here are some ways to prevent rear end-collisions:

Follow the four-second rule.

Be sure to always keep at least four seconds of distance between the vehicle in front of you, during ideal conditions. If conditions deteriorate due to darkness, adverse weather, other road conditions, visibility, extend your distance to five or more seconds.

To determine four seconds of distance, pick out an object on the side of the road, like a tree or lamp post. Note when the vehicle in front of you passes that object, and then count how long it takes you to reach it. If it takes less than four seconds, you’re following too closely.

Be consious of tire visibility.

When stopped, position yourself far enough from the vehicle in front of you so that you can see where their tires touch the ground. This reduces the chance for a secondary impact, provides a safe escape distance and establishes a safe following distance.

Signal before you turn.

Pay attention to traffic flow and communicate with other drivers by signaling before you turn or change lanes.

Scan your surroundings.

Remain alert and aware of your surroundings. Scan your eyes ahead of you to give yourself time to react for potential hazards. You should know the location of every vehicle around you, including the one behind you.

Eliminate distractions.

Avoid daydreaming, conversations and thoughts that take your mind off driving. Eliminate other distractions like using your cell phone, eating or watching videos. Give your full attention to the road.

Safety on the road starts with smart driving habits. Follow these tips to avoid rear-end collisions and stay safe on the road. For more tips, visit

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