Are you a bad driver? SC trooper answers your traffic questions

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Bad drivers, everyone hates them but no one wants to admit that they may be part of the problem.

WBTV asked South Carolina State Trooper Gary Miller a few traffic questions that have sparked debates among drivers and may have caused quite a few crashes over the years.

We asked Miller, how much space should there be between vehicles? Miller said most drivers will answer 2 to 3 car lengths.

But what about when driving on the interstate?

Miller said 2 to 3 car lengths simply isn't enough.  "An average speed of 70 miles an hour on the interstate requires a safe following distance of approximately 7 to 7 1/2 car lengths," he said.

Trooper Miller said he's responded to many crashes where drivers told him they were two car lengths away. But Miller said when driving 70 miles an hour, two car lengths will not give drivers enough time to react.

Miller said another issue that drivers have different opinions on is the proper way to merge into traffic.

Does the driver next to you have to let you into their lane?

"They don't have to. They're already established in the lane, they have the right of way. You have to wait until you have the opening and its safe and you can use due care and you can enter traffic without causing a collision," Miller said.

Miller said many crashes happen during merging because drivers are trying to force their way over into the lane and other drivers are not letting other vehicles in.

Miller told WBTV another question that comes up often is this: Is there an official fast or slow lane?

"By law there's no fast lane or slow lane. Common courtesy has become to the point where people refer to the left lane as the fast lane and right lane as the slow lane but it's really just common courtesy," said Miller.

Miller said when it comes to merging, space between cars and driving in the unofficial fast or slow lane, most crashes can be avoided by simply being courteous.

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