One in eight road accidents caused by tailgating

More than 100 people killed or seriously injured every year by motorists driving too close to car in front

Drivers caught tailgating can be slapped with a £100 fine and three penalty points
(Image credit: AA)

Almost one in eight of all accidents on England’s motorways and A-roads is caused by tailgating, according to figures released as part of a new government push to tackle dangerous driving.

The research by Highways England, which manages Britain’s major roads, shows that more than 100 people are “killed or seriously injured” every year in accidents where motorists have driven too close to the vehicle in front, reports The Daily Telegraph.

The Government body found that 1,896 of the total 16,233 casualties on roads in 2016 involved tailgating.

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“Tailgating makes the driver in front feel targeted and victimised, distracting their attention and making them more likely to make a mistake,” says Highways England’s head of road safety, Richard Leonard. “It is intimidating and frightening if you’re on the receiving end.”

Driving to close to other cars means drivers “won’t be able to react and stop in time”, he added.

Is tailgating illegal?

Yes. Drivers caught tailgating may face a £100 fine and three penalty points on their licence.

Highways England says that more than a quarter of drivers admit to driving too close to other vehicles.

However, the body believes that only a “small minority” of drivers deliberately tailgate other road users, while most are unaware that they are “dangerously invading someone else’s space”, The Sunday Times reports.

The Highway Code recommends that drivers leave a “two-second gap” to the car in front, increasing to four seconds in adverse weather conditions, says The Sun.

How is Highways England dealing with the problem?

Highways England is launching the Don’t Be A Space Invader campaign, which aims to educate drivers about the dangers of tailgating through a series of social media posts.

The move has been backed by 1992 Formula 1 champion Nigel Mansell, who says tailgating is “a driving habit I utterly deplore”.

“Not only is it aggressive and intimidating, but there is absolutely no upside to it,” he adds. “You will not get to your destination faster, you are not a skilled driver for doing it, and you are putting so many innocent people at risk.”

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