Highways England warns about driving too close to other vehicles
Figures show that one in eight of all road casualties are caused by people who drive too close to the vehicle in front, with more than 100 people killed or seriously injured each year.
While a small minority of tailgating is deliberate, most is unintentional by drivers who are simply unaware they are dangerously invading someone else’s space.
With the touring season rapidly approaching, Highways England is reminding people of the need to leave plenty of space between themselves and the vehicle in front.
Nearly nine out of 10 people say they have either been tailgated or seen it. And more than a quarter of drivers admitted to tailgating.
Highways England head of road safety Richard Leonard said: 'We know that with spring just around the corner, plenty of people will be gearing up to hit the roads and that’s why we’re calling on people to find out more about our #staysafestayback campaign.'
The message is really simple - especially if you’re on the motorway network following a caravan or motorhome – leave plenty of space to make sure you can stop in time if the vehicle in front stops suddenly. It is intimidating and frightening if you’re on the receiving end. If that leads to a collision, then people in both vehicles could end up seriously injured or killed. We want everyone to travel safely, so the advice is - stay safe, stay back.
The campaign has recently won the backing of former ‘Stig’ from TopGear, Ben Collins. Best known for his role on BBC motoring show TopGear as the ‘tame’ racing driver in the white suit – Ben has coached hundreds of celebrities from Tom Cruise to Lionel Ritchie around the race-track, and is also a championship winning Le Mans racing driver.
He says: "I discovered the dangers of tailgating at a very early age - in an overly enthusiastic game of musical chairs. The music stopped. So did the kid in front of me. But I didn’t. I face-planted the back of his head instead."
Following the vehicle in front too closely reduces your vision to zero, along with your time to react to danger. Stay safe, stay back and look ahead.
A host of companies have already backed the campaign, including National Express, which is carrying the message on some of its long-distance coaches.
Other advocates include the RAC, National Police Chiefs Council, leading road safety bodies Brake and the Institute for Advanced Motorists, and Thatcham.
Highways England has a dedicated webpage where drivers can find more information about tailgating and what they can do to stay safe.
Highways England is also reminding people to ensure that they have the correct licence and insurance to tow whatever the weight, make sure you have connected correctly, and always ensure your load is secure and within the limits for your vehicle before setting off.