Please, Not So Close!

Panic!This must have been Following Too Closely Week in British Columbia. I received the story of an incident in Sooke, an analysis of a video from Richmond and was subjected to this dangerous behaviour myself. You might be able to get away with ignoring the Motor Vehicle Act, but the laws of physics will eventually prevail.


The story out of Sooke goes like this:

I've just witnessed the most inconsistent driver I've EVER SEEN in my 38 years of driving!

A black car passed me on the 4 lanes towards Sooke. He gets behind a pickup and commences to follow between 20 to 5 feet, maybe even LESS a couple times, all the way to Sooke. I was waiting for them to crash he was so close!!!

When the pickup turned off he's right on the bumper of the next driver.

Now here's the crazy part: He signals properly going through the traffic circle and signals to go into Village foods.

So he KNOWS how to drive properly yet tailgates like the most ignorant driver on the road...

Last Wednesday afternoon I was traveling in the right hand lane northbound on the south side of the Malahat. I had just entered the 70 km/h zone on the south side when I heard a loud air horn sound behind me. A glance in my rear view mirror showed nothing for a few moments but the shiny chrome grille of a green dump truck pulling a pup trailer.

Apparently he did not want to slow down or change lanes.

The drivers in these two stories knew they were wrong.

The one in Sooke made a deliberate choice to ignore common sense. Hopefully he has not fallen into the trap of letting this become his default setting because nothing bad has happened from it, yet.

In my case it was either the driver not wanting to slow on the hill or he had a momentary lapse of attention and was warning me of an impending collision because of it.

The video in the Richmond article shows typical following distances on B.C.'s highways today.

ICBC no longer publishes detailed collision data by contributing factor as it did years ago. However, a document from 2007 shows following distance at #7 in the list of top 10 causes of collisions.

This behaviour not make the top 10 in traffic tickets issued during 2017 though. Police wrote about 2,000 tickets for following too closely in general and 48 for commercial vehicle following too closely specifically. This is about 0.5% of the total number of tickets issued that year.

Please, not so close! Leave at least 2 seconds distance between vehicles. The risk may be comfortable for you but it's not the smart choice.


I get it all the time here in Campbell River. The speed limit on South Dogwood is 60 km/h, however to most drivers here this is only a suggested speed limit.

Opposite to following to close is cutting in front to close, especially in wet weather. The spray often blinds the car being cut off. This is a habit more common than following close.

When I teach, i ask my students “if a crash is a sudden lack of space between two or more objects, then what is best way to prevent crashes?”

Followed by “If you leave a 1 second following distance rather than a 2 second following distance, how much sooner do you get there?”

Sometimes this wakes them up.

I learned to drive in the UK where the minimum is 3 seconds, and I still follow as far as possible. That extra second allows for the time you are looking in the mirror, or otherwise not looking straight ahead (for whatever) reason, and something happens ahead of you.

It also allows for a calmer drive as you always have time to think and react.

The tough part is all the other drivers who want to fill that gap because you're not 10' off the guys bumper in front.

It always amuses me how you can be in pretty much any lane, no other vehicles stopping the driver behind from overtaking, but no he will sit on your bumper, and as soon as you move into another lane (I do this on purpose if they are too close) they speed up, pass and proceed to the next car in front and tailgate them at the same distance! It's almost as if they have a magnet on their car.

Other observations recently, the amount of people who are incapable of gently starting from a stop, it's foot on the floor and if you are in front and gently accelerating and change gear they have to brake to avoid hitting you.

I have muttered for some time that people need to pay attention when driving, it requires your full attention all the time, you don't become brilliant at it and can then not pay attention. When you drive you need to focus on your driving, you need to be thinking of your driving, you need to be planning your route (so that you don't suddenly want to cross 3 lanes to turn right).

Oct 12, 2021, 545pm approx, from Austin Drive to Blue Mountain Street, Burnaby, BC, I'm driving on left lane, following a suv 10 meters away from me, suddenly a small commercial auto body car from right lane, zoom in and cut me off while being close to the rear of a construction service truck who was in Hazzard lights while they are working. Whew, that was close. It should have wait from my back and drive normally.
Then I slow down since seldom no cars on both lanes, let him go away. Thanks God, I have a front camera that read his license plate and make of the car. Should I report the car to avoid more abnormal driving like that?

Should I report the car to avoid more abnormal driving like that?

Even if you could get the police to take a report (good luck with that) nothing will be done.

However! You could make the modern technology work for you. That dashcam of yours has recorded what happened - including the name of the company who own that vehicle.

So why don't you send the owners of that company the video? Or maybe even better, upload a copy to the guys that run the YouTube sites, Vancouver's Worst Drivers or Bad Drivers of the Lower Mainland? Then send them a link to the recording.

Nobody wants a moron driving their clearly marked company vehicle. And nobody wants their personal vehicle driven by a moron, if they're choosing a collision shop. Ironic choice of words, there ...