If you follow our Facebook page, then you probably saw the two photos of multi-car pileups along the North Luzon Expressway during the All Saints' Day weekend. According to Tollways Management Corporation traffic operations manager Robin Ignacio, there were actually five such accidents that involved a total of 20 vehicles.
That's right: 20 vehicles: 15 in four successive accidents on the southbound part of NLEX in the Balagtas, Bulacan, area, and another five in an accident in the San Fernando, Pampanga, area. Furthermore, these pileups all happened on a Sunday, November 3.
Apparently--and it's no surprise, really--the accidents were caused by one vehicle following too closely the vehicle in front of it. And when the vehicle ahead felt the need to stop abruptly, a chain reaction followed leading to a pileup.
As motorists, the general rule is that we should leave enough space between our car and the car in front of us so we have enough space to brake safely in case the vehicle ahead decides to make a sudden stop. The general rule--and the one used by the United Kingdom, incidentally--is the two-second rule, which means that our vehicle should be at least two seconds behind the one in front of us. California's Department of Motor Vehicles, on the other hand, uses a three-second rule. To illustrate, when the vehicle ahead of us passes a certain point, it should take us two to three seconds to reach that same point.
The problem, however, is when imbeciles squeeze into the space--about two to three car-lengths--we leave between our car and the one in front of us. It's as if we left the space for them to freely cut into.
So, as responsible motorists, we should respect the distance between vehicles on the expressway. Just because we see a sizable gap between two vehicles doesn't mean we should instantly dive into it. Remember: The gap might accommodate our car, but then there's not much distance left between our car and the vehicle in front. All the driver in the car ahead needs to do is make an emergency stop and, before we know it, we're the filling in a multi-car sandwich. Drive safely by never tailgating.
Photo from Alberto del Rosario