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Graham Hurdle's blog: 6 June 2014 - Over half of drivers admit to tailgating, but what is it?

Date: 06 June 2014

Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World

A survey from Direct Line and Brake has revealed that nearly six in 10 drivers (57%) admit to tailgating on motorways.

This may sound like a startling statistic but are we therefore saying that 43% maintain a safe distance at all times?

If we refer to the Highway Code it tells us to drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear, leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front so that you can pull up safely if it suddenly slows down or stops, and allow at least a two-second gap between you and the vehicle in front on roads carrying faster-moving traffic.

The gap should be at least doubled on wet roads and increased still further on icy roads.

I'm pleased that Direct Line and Brake have published this survey because it is an incredibly dangerous practice to drive too close to the vehicle in front at any speed, and especially when driving fast.

Fleet managers will tell you that one of the biggest causes of accidents is rear end shunts. Often drivers will claim that they are caused by the sudden braking of the vehicle in front, but it's always because they were following too close.

But what actually is a tailgater? I believe most people would class it as someone who drives in an intimidating fashion close to the vehicle in front.

Yet I've been in many cars with drivers who are unknowingly tailgating because in their minds they are at a safe distance.

The upshot is that I'd say that on top of the 57% of drivers who have admitted to tailgating, there's another large proportion who have no idea they are doing it.

Maybe next time you're on the motorway, have a look to see how many you believe are abiding by the two-second rule because there are many occasions when motorways are busy that I can hardly see anyone doing it.



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