National Highways has launched a new campaign urging drivers to keep a minimum two second gap, or risk putting themselves and others in danger.
Following too closely to other cars – known as tailgating – is one of the biggest causes of road accidents in the UK. It is a factor in around one in eight crashes on England’s motorways and major A roads.
The ‘stay safe, stay back’ campaign follows a probe into tailgating by National Highways and Northamptonshire Police.
Cameras on a single stretch of the M1 were alerted 60,343 times to insufficient gaps between cars over one year, an average of 165 breaches per day.
National Highways Head of Road Safety, Jeremy Phillips, said: “Most tailgating is unintentional by drivers who don’t realise that they are infringing on someone else’s space. But not leaving enough space between you and the vehicle in front is not only very frightening for that driver, it could have devastating consequences.”
The faster a car is travelling, the longer it takes to stop. At motorway speeds, a person could cover the length of four cars before they even apply the brakes, and a further 75m after braking for the car to stop.
Former Formula 1 driver, Nigel Mansell, who is backing the campaign, said: “There is absolutely no upside to tailgating – 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.”
To use the rule, drivers should allow the vehicle in front to pass a fixed object such as a lamp post or road sign then count to two seconds. If they reach two seconds before reaching the reference marker they need to drop back.
The gap should be wider as speeds increase and should be at least doubled on wet roads and increased still further on icy roads.
Visit the campaign website here: nationalhighways.co.uk/road-safety/stay-safe-stay-back/
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