Tailgaters to blame for 1 in 8 road casualties

More than 100 people are killed or seriously injured every year in accidents caused by tailgating motorists, worrying new analysis has revealed.

The study by Highways England shows that one in eight (12.5%) of all casualties on England’s major routes are caused by drivers tailgating, that is – travelling too close to the vehicle in front.

In response to the figures, Highways England has launched a campaign called ‘Don’t Be A Space Invader’, using the classic arcade game to warn motorists about not leaving enough space.

The RAC supports the Highways England campaign, welcoming the move to help curb aggressive driving such as tailgating, a leading concern of motorists.

The Highway Code states that drivers should allow for a two-second gap between themselves and the vehicle in front, doubling that amount if the road is wet or slippery.

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But Highways England believes most tailgaters are unaware that they are invading the space of other drivers, with only a small minority deliberately tailgating.

The organisation hopes that the new campaign, fronted by former Formula 1 world champion Nigel Mansell, will raise awareness of the dangers and help stamp out the issue. He said: "Tailgating is a driving habit I utterly deplore. Not only is it aggressive and intimidating, but it can lead to a crash with a tragic outcome."

RAC Head of Roads Policy, Nicholas Lyes, said that not only does tailgating put lives in danger, it also creates a deeply unpleasant driving environment on the roads.

He added: “Tailgating won’t increase your chances of getting to your destination more quickly, it will simply increase the chances of a serious collision.

“Our message to drivers is that they should keep at least a two second gap, and use the chevrons indicated on some roads to understand what a safe gap looks like in reality.

“Of course, in poor weather conditions, extra space is essential.”

Copyright Press Association 2018. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.