Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

How to Prevent Some Car Accidents Using the 3-Second Rule

Several news outlets recently reported a major crash on Interstate 435 in Kansas City. On March 15, 2024, 17-year-old Muneer Henderson and 19-year-old Orlando Ward were killed when the Nissan car in which they were passengers stopped in the travel lanes of the interstate. They were then rear-ended by a white Kansas City Fire Department Ford Explorer. Then, as the vehicles came to rest, a white Freightliner semitractor-trailer struck the Nissan. Ward was pronounced dead at the scene and Henderson died after being taken by ambulance to a nearby emergency room.

Avoiding Car Crashes

As a personal injury lawyer in Kansas City specializing in crash cases, and currently representing several people injured in another recent crash on I-435, I wanted to share my thoughts on how this crash could have been prevented. This crash is a classic example of following too closely. The Explorer and the semitractor seemingly should have been able to stop in time to avoid the crash, or at least lessen the impact. This is because Missouri law requires drivers use the 3-second rule for keeping distance between the driver and the car in front of them.

The 3-Second Rule

Regarding the 3-second rule, the Missouri Driver's Guide states, "A good way to measure your safe following distance is to use the 'three second rule.' Choose an object near the road ahead, like a sign or telephone pole. As the vehicle ahead of you passes it, count slowly, 'one-thousand one, one-thousand two, one-thousand three.' If you reach the object before you finish counting, you are too close to the vehicle ahead."

The 3-second rule helps prevent rear-end crashes by giving you enough time to react when vehicles suddenly slow down or stop in a lane of travel. Arguably, had the drivers of the Explorer and semitractor followed this rule, Mr. Henderson and Mr. Ward would still be alive today.

If you have a questions about major crash cases, or would like a free consultation about a crash you or your loved one has been in, please contact my firm. We have over a decade of experience with crash cases and will maximize the value of your case.

More Resources:

New Developments in Car Crash Cases

What to do When a Loved One Dies in a Traffic Accident