Road Safety News
 

Injury Prevention Day asks drivers to ‘back-off’

Tuesday 15th August 2017

Motorists who drive too close to the car in front are the target of a campaign to reduce the number of collisions and injuries caused by ‘tailgating’.

The annual Injury Prevention Day is organised by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), with the 2017 campaign taking place tomorrow (16 August).

To mark the day, which uses the hashtag #IPDay17 on social media, APIL is relaunching its long-running anti-tailgating campaign 'Back Off', with a new animated video. Back Off messages will feature on social media, via APIL's Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Brett Dixon, president of APIL, said: “Some injuries and subsequent insurance claims could easily be avoided if drivers backed off and left a bit more room.

“Driving too close, or ‘tailgating’, is a bad habit of which many drivers are guilty. It is incredibly dangerous as well as antisocial, and can be really intimidating for other drivers.

“When in traffic, drivers are advised to leave enough space so that they can see the tarmac between their car and the car in front.

“In the UK we have 50% more traffic per kilometre than the European average. This, coupled with bad driving habits can cause needless collisions and injuries which should have been avoided.”

The campaign is supported by the insurer LV= (Liverpool Victoria).

Martin Milliner, LV= director of claims, said: “On a regular basis we see claims coming through that could have easily been avoided if only drivers had adopted a safer approach.

“With tailgating in particular, many of us have probably found ourselves in a situation where we might perhaps have been driving too close to the car in front, or the car behind has been too close to your boot.

“Encouraging drivers to stop doing this and getting them to ‘back off’ is something we believe is very important and we welcome APIL’s campaign.”


Category: Events

 

 

Comments

Comment on this story
Report a reader comment

What's your view - comment on this story:

I confirm that I have read and accept the moderation policy and house rules relating to comments posted on this website.
Your comment:
Your name and location:
Your email:

On the contrary Nigel.. I appreciate all of your points of view and the input from Hugh. I am sure that its that of many a driver. As regards giving safer space then surely if we are driving safely we will be giving that safe space anyway and therefore there would be no need to increase that space. If one does then the driver behind will see a greater gap occuring between yourself and the car in front that you are following or losing for no apparent reason. It could mean that he or she may become even more frustrated and possibly angry that that space is increasing and that you are deliberately slowing him unecessarily and this may cause him to overtake and or react perhaps inappropriately.

The HC does give us advice of what we should do and in the case that a driver is seen to want to overtake [ tailgate] then one should enable him to do so and therefore slow down pull in and allow him to do just that. I have at times even pulled off the road to facilitated some annoying and dangerous drivers. Dangerous to me and my family.

One thing that I did include in my last posting but wasnt printed is that no matter what amount of space you give to the car in front you still haver a danger a your rear. You have not got rid of that. If something happens closer to you the now lead vehicle it could be anything dangerous that may not be seen by the driver behind you due to his close proximity and that may cause you a further danger should you need to brake hard or are indeed struck by another. The driver of the car behind will not be able to react to you suddenly slowing or becoming stopped and therefore he will make the situation worse for you as well as for himself.

Safe space is designed to keep you and others safe should an emergency arise ahead and give you and others the space and time in which to stop without colliding with the vehicle in front.

I understand that there are times depending upon traffic conditions where one cannot immediately slow and allow an overtake and under those circumstances one has to grit ones teeth and suffer the offending driver to intimidate Putting our lives and sometime the lives of our loved ones at risk.

I have given way on more occasions than I care to remember and believe me they dont like it when you slow them down gradually and indicate to stop without, to them, any valid reason. I have had some moments of angry horns etc but at least they have gone and I am now driving safe again. I hope that they may learn something by my actions and that they will realise that if the vehicle in front suddenly slows but with care then they have to be further behind or have to brake hard, but I doubt it. However thats why we must try to eradicate this pernicious behavour for the benefit of all drivers at all times.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (1) | Disagree (0)
+1

The other point, Bob, is that if drivers decide to follow too closely (or ver closely), that is their decision and the frustration ensuing is a product of that decision. The point is that it is a problem they have created for themselves and not to make it our problem as well. But further, can you imagine what the roads would be like if it was a national road safety policy to pull over and let aggressive drivers go by. The roads would be mayhem in no time (1) because it would be generally encouraging more aggressive behaviour and (2) because of all the people pulling to let others go by - or trying to in inappropriate places ... well, the mind just boggles. I think Monty Python would have a go at that one and I would just stay off the roads.
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (2) | Disagree (2)
0

I suppose it might be considered as a 50/50 situation Bob, but my rationale is that by leaving more space at the the front you are allowing more space and time to slow down should the need arise. And by doing it steadily the one behind is not going to shunt you because you are also watching them very carefully in your rearview mirror. Yes, they (he or she) might get more frustrated, but then they probably are anyway. That's just a product of their mindset. And if you are on, for example, an urban dual-carriageway the 'pull-over' option is not going to work. But I prefer the space option to the other one which re-enforcing their bad behavior. Besides, following the alternative rationale, in some circumstances, you would for ever be pulling over to let other drivers go by. I think I will stick by my existing strategy.
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (1) | Disagree (0)
+1

If I followed your advice Bob, my journeys would take three times as long! One can't necessarily just 'pull over' anyway on many roads. Slowing down, leaving a big space and making sure I can easily stop has always worked for me. In urban areas an intimidating tailgater is not behind you for long and as I have said in another thread, they will surely eventually get caught committing another of their many offences elsewhere. The alternative is as Nigel suggests, for us to report offenders - preferably with video evidence - however opinions as to what is a safe distance and what is tailgating may differ between the complainant and the police - I'm sure even you, me and Nigel may not concur exactly as to what is acceptable and what isn't, in any tailgating scenario.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (1) | Disagree (1)
0

Nigel your advice about dealing with tailgater is so seriously flawed. However it is only reiterating the poor advice given in all road safety manuals. By giving more space you are definately making it easier for you to stop or slow should anything untoward happen to the vehicle in front. This unfortunatly anticipates that the driver behind you will also slow accordingly. Remember if he is that close he will be fixated on your rear lights and nothing else that is happening on the road ahead whether he could actually see it or not. Don't forget that even if the vehicle well ahead slows then you may have to slow and if by doing so you fail to show brake lights ie take your foot of the accelerator, the vehicle behind may not know that you are slowing, not seeing your brake lights and being so close to you he may rear end you and that would be your fault as you failed to signal properly that you were intending to slow.

The danger is still on your back and intimidating you all that time and are you really going to be happy with that situation? Just accept my advice and slow, let him go and then he is not longer a danger to you and or your family. You can then drive with a better feeling, safer and in far less danger.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (1) | Disagree (1)
0

Responding to g.craven's suggestion (related to Bob?). Good idea in principle to pull in and let the tailgater go by. Problem is most often close following implies that they would like to go faster than you, and by pulling in and letting them by it will just confirm that they can intimidate others to get their own way, thereby re-enforcing their bad behaviour. The best strategy is to leave more space to the front so that if the need arises you can pull up nice and steadily - effectively having to do the thinking for the one behind as well, and avoiding them crashing into your back.

But this is why I favour rear facing cameras. Noth Wales Police (I think it is) now encourages drivers to forward video recordings of bad behaviour (presumably because there are not enough traffic officers on the roads today) and recordings of such bad, and often aggressive behaviour, is just what should be forwarded to the police. Better still, if you can afford it, get the kit with front AND rear facing cameras.
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (1) | Disagree (1)
0

You are right Hugh. I'll go with 'average' instead. It is the wilful and deliberate drivers whose intention is solely to block others that I'm against, not those of a cautious disposition.
Pat, Wales

Agree (2) | Disagree (1)
+1

Good job there's no misconceptions or generalisations in your first three paragraphs, Mr (or Ms) Craven!
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (0) | Disagree (0)
0

I have generally found that the majority of drivers will drive up to or close to the speed limits on most roads accepting that a minority may adopt the ACPO speed limits rather than the signed ones. (ACPO being an allowance before prosecution of some 15% over the signed speed limit)

Whether the 85% rule come into play I dont begin to wonder or know. What I do know is that some drivers will stay somewhat below that legal limit and generally will also reduce their speeds and brake on bends. This is of course most frustrating for many other drivers and there is naturally a wish to overtake as soon as the road strightens out. Unforunately this doesn't happen or is made more difficult as the driver ahead will accelerate on the straight to within 5 mph or less of the then posted speed limit thus reducing the opportunity to be overtaken. They and then slow once again on the bends.

Usually when overtaken I have found the driver to be an octogenarian male or in most cases females of a similar age.

Nigel we can in fact control the drivers behind us and causing us some grief anger etc. We can slow and pull in and allow them to overtake us and then as said they go ahead and do the same thing to the driver now ahead of them. So we can free ourselves of tailgators. Some dont like slowing and almost stopping to avoid a collision with our vehicles but that's something they have to put up with. Our bad driving that is. ie slowing or stopping for no reason?
g craven

Agree (1) | Disagree (2)
-1

Pat: Drivers who drive significantly slower than the 85th%ile is er....a most of them actually! The 85th is the exception, whereas the majority drive around the mean average which gives an acceptable balance between reasonable progress and a safety margin - the 85th doesn't. Your first line should perhaps have said 'significantly slower than the average...'.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (0) | Disagree (1)
-1

Does anyone have any suggestions regarding drivers on lengthy rural roads who drive significantly slower than the 85th percentile (as is their right) BUT then speed up to block you if you attempt to overtake them briskly and safely on the few and far between long straight sections? Not sure that the problem and context would show up clearly enough on a dashcam. These individuals seem to have a 'thou shalt not overtake me under any circumstances' attitude and are a real menace.
Pat, Wales

Agree (3) | Disagree (1)
+2

I have been on training courses and spoken to many others undertaking such and the general consensus of opinion all the way down the line is that it is far safer to be at the front of a queue rather than in it. Even for those travelling at the maximum speeds allowed for that road.

I have asked if that means overtaking say nine or more other vehicles to get there and they have no answer. No argument but the above still applies that they will overtake and possibly put themselves into increased danger on each and every overtake. They don't realise that all they have to do is slow down and give safe following on distances and then they will not be in any queue and in no danger. They will be riding or driving by themselves which is the safest position to be in.

Should vehicles at the rear wish to overtake and exceed the speed limit then let them pass and then they can be a danger to others and themselves further up the road and not behind you.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
+3

Got to agree with you in that regard Hugh although I have issues with some other things mentioned. Unfortunately we have a society that has been brought up with an overtake mentality especially when on motorcycles. First of all no driver/rider should overtake if it means that one is exceeding the speed limit but some do and that includes Advanced Riders doing such overtaking. Further the training manuals do say one should not overtake when one cannot see a sufficient gap to return into. What it doesn't say is that that gap should be a safe following on distance apart but gives the impression that any gap is ok. It does mention however one should bear in mind that a gap could disappear before we have arrived at it. That leave us with a belief that its ok to overtake basically at all times and that's what a lot of riders do. Sometimes it doesn't work out and that's why we have a 16% statistic for deaths by inappropriate overtakes.
m.worthington Manchester

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
+3

Ok, Hugh. Understand where you are coming from. A good part of driving is in a way being a detective but, there is no 100% rule for anything. What we do is reduce the risk profile by a very measurable amount. So, my basic response is that 'the clues are always there'. Where most people get caught out is that they are not looking for them.

Safe space, to the front and to the sides (you can't control the ones behind) yes, but I have always had an issue with the term 'defensive driving'. I prefer more proactive terms reflected in part of my commentary, 'Looking out for areas of potential conflict in order to avoid them.' So I prefer awareness, alertness - reflecting a more positive and outward looking mindset. That's the best way to find the problems and avoid them.
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (1) | Disagree (0)
+1

Do we need to be overtaking anyway? An unusually slow-moving vehicle ahead - yes possibly, but vehicles on singe c/way roads travelling at reasonable speeds - why? Overtaking in such circumstances is always risky and in 45 years driving, I don't recall ever doing it. I'm not convinced it should be 'taught' as thought it were a necessity.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (1) | Disagree (4)
-3

Tailgating like speeding is very common on UK roads due to many drivers following their own dangerous driving agendas before the safety of others, which is why I believe vehicle technology that first warns drivers with an audio bleep, if they are tailgating or speeding, should be compulsory in all vehicles.

If drivers do not respond positively to the audio warning the technology will report them directly, then high fines and penalties given that reflect the offence in order to deter future dangerous driving.

Such technology would cover every inch of UK roads, without high cost road infrastructure changes, making all roads and communities safer.
Paula Collingwood

Agree (3) | Disagree (3)
0

Actually Nigel, I wasn't referring to other drivers nipping in ahead of us (although I can see how you might have read it that way)...by 'intrusions into our safety space' I was referring primarily to pedestrians and wheeled road users crossing - or trying to cross - our path ahead e.g. vehicles pulling out from side roads or turning in across our path, or simply peds stepping out without looking - anything really that would put us on a collision course, unless we stop.

Creating a safety space which we can 'defend' (hence defensive driving) as I'm sure you'll agree, is crucial to remaining collision-free.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (1) | Disagree (1)
0

But, Geoff, how many know how to overtake properly (i.e. safely and without inconvience to others), except if they have been to police driving school. That's about the only sort of location where it is likely to be taught nowadays, (at least taught properly) because everything on the roads is follow my leader. Roadcraft does cover overtaking but, only partly in real terms.
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
+3

Fair comment, Hugh. And, if there is a downside to leaving sufficient space, that is it. So the options are (1) close the gap so that others can't do this, which means you are then succumbing to their standard of behaviour and reducing your own safety zone or, (2) re-create the safe zone (without making a fuss about it). Having said that it will often be difficult to achieve that sort of space in London and the like but, nevertheless, if one is forced into that situation it needs a heightened awareness of ones vulnerability.
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
+3

Keith: Is it not implicit in the phrase 'controlled stop' that it would be in a straight line and therefore following the vehicle's original course? On the other hand, panic braking may cause the car's rear wheels to lock-up, in turn causing the rear of the car to go sideways and end up 'anywhere' as you put it. That would be an uncontrolled stop!

Nigel: "...you must be able to pull up in the distance you can see to be clear.." is quite right obviously, but I've often thought that phrase should be qualified by "...and which will remain clear by the time you get there.." A bit clumsy I know, but it does allow for last-second intrusions by other road users into our safety space.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (0) | Disagree (1)
-1

I try to leave a two second gap however many overtakers then cut back in front almost scraping my bumper, necessitating a brake application. We also need to emphasise the need for correct overtaking manoeuvres.
Geoff Walker

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
+3

At last we are starting to see some sense in a road safety policy. 30% of crashes are front to rear end shunts and there is a potential penalty of £100 and 3 points for close following. HC (para 126) says you must be able to pull up in the distance you can see to be clear, which means that if you hit the one in front your couldn't - and should be prosecuted under 126. If either or both of these points were implemented then, without any further legislation it would send a ripple effect and potentially increase road safety by up to 30% at a stroke.

The two second rule in HC is the recommended minimum - it doesn't matter what reference point is used so long as the count starts from zero. As stated before in previous threads, police driving schools used to recommend 3-4 seconds in a following position - and that presumed fine and dry conditions and on a level surface, so potentially more in wet conditions or when towing a trailer - and particularly caravans and the like. The latter being one of my bete noirs considering the number one sees on, for example, a motorway travelling almost nose to tail and they have no view ahead. It's suicidal.
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (6) | Disagree (0)
+6

Hugh, surely if you are going to give advice as you have with regard to a drivers ability to bring whatever they are driving to a sudden, but easily controlled stop, if and when necessary anyway? Should you not remind them it perhaps should be on their own side of the road not just anywhere.
Keith

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
+3

I should have added to my last comment that knowing your own stopping distance will deal with just about very other driving situation, not just preventing rear end shunts. Peds, cyclists, vehicles crossing our paths, the 'unexpected' etc. etc. can all be dealt with, when we know what our and our vehicle's 'safety space' is.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (1) | Disagree (1)
0

I applaud your efforts to reduce tailgating Bob, but don't get your lamp post(s) idea. Is it not the case that we know - or certainly should know - how quickly, and in what distance we can bring whatever we are driving to a sudden, but easily controlled stop, if and when necessary anyway? Being guided by two second rules or lamposts I don't believe are necessary or particularly useful and cannot be as accurate and important as simply 'knowing' from experience.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (0) | Disagree (0)
0

For many years now I have been driving and riding by the two lamp post or one lamp post rule and have found them to be all over the place and more or less equally spaced out as they have to be in order to display a certain amount of lighting coverage. That places them within certain distance perameters. See later. As they are the highest and most frequent of street furnishing one will have no problem in identifying them at all. They are everywhere.

Hugh, Doesn't the HC say that we should look for something like street furnishing, a tree, a post box or bus stop or steet lamp and having identified it then use it and count two seconds. Wont that take time and take observations away from the road? Well Hugh....whats wrong in doing that with a lamp post only. One will generally find that if one does then it will usually be more than the distances in the HC but that can only be a good thing. Saves saying the 2 second rule and of the keeping of only the thinking distance which to many drivers seem to do. Wrongly.

I have studied the distances for lamp posts on any number of main A and B roads and have found them to be about 120/140ft apart easy to keep that distance at 40 mph. Then two of them give the distance of about 240/260ft which is a good safe space for both 50 and 60 mph. speed limits.

Hugh, before you dismiss this intervention out of hand without giving it any credibility you do yourself and that of road safety a total disservise. Try it and see that it works and without taking the eyes of the road. Its just like looking in the rear view mirror every few seconds but takes less time and effort. The lamp posts are so obvious one doesnt have to look for them they are so apperent. The lamp posts are so obviously obvious that they are not even considered as a road safety intervention. Yet they are there alrewady in situ and it takes nothing out of a drive or ride but keeps one safe from tailgating others and thats whats important.

The powers that be, being most if not all of the road safety manuals are telling us to be one marker post apart on a motorway. Why are you not questioning that advice and complaining about the difficulty in seeing a one metre high stick of wood thats almost impossible to see at the best of times.

I think that the simple lamp posts rule will eliminate the need to have four other distance advice. Many with different distances that just complicate evrything and brings it all into disrepute.

If more drivers adopted the one lamp post rule or the two lamp post rule on country roads they would soon get used to those distances and where there are none would still be able to keep safe space due to constant and consistant experience.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (3) | Disagree (5)
-2

I've not heard of the 'lamp post rule' but having to take one's eyes of the road to study lamp posts doesn't seem a great idea - don't assume they're all equally spaced either!
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)
+2

I agree Gareth but at higher speeds its no longer the 2 second rule.

I have been following Bob Craven's advice of staying back at least a lamp post from the rear of the vehicle in front in urban areas and the 2 lamp posts rule in rural arterial roads and quite honestly I find it very easy to do and I feel more comfortable and in control with the distance it gives. If, however I am being tailgated as suggested by the HC and Bob, I pull over let it pass and then give the corect lamp post distance again. Its certainly made my driving experience easier and safer.
m.worthington Manchester

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
+3

"Only a fool breaks the two second rule"
Gareth, Surrey

Agree (7) | Disagree (1)
+6

The advice about seing tarmac is about as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle.

The whole concept of the video must have been drawn up by a child with little or no knowledge of the problem. Its similar in that respect to the THINK campaign that doesn't put forward just what the safe distance should be in the dry and tells us to double it.. Double what?

It's similar to many tyre companies that try and give safety advice and recommened that one should always drive two car lengths behind the vehicle in front. Yes even at 100 mph. If that were legal that is. I have put my two peneth into the facebook
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (9) | Disagree (1)
+8

Publicity, the same reason they have placed the article on RSGB News.

Their opening line on the link is one of maximising compensation for claimants. The secondary point is about safety.

Their objectives on their page is primarily concerned about maximising claims for personal injury.

In all its undertakings, APIL aims to:

Promote full and just compensation for all types of personal injury
Promote wider redress for personal injury in the legal system
Campaign for improvements in personal injury law
Promote safety standards and alert the public to hazards
Provide a communication network for its members
Promote and develop expertise in the practice of personal injury law

"APIL’s members are committed to campaigning for reform to improve the law for injured people so that, when the worst happens, people can exercise their right to seek justice, care and fair compensation. But we would all prefer for people not to be injured needlessly in the first place."
Keith

Agree (10) | Disagree (1)
+9

Keith - if that is the APIL's motive, why would they offer any safety advice?
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

Agree (5) | Disagree (2)
+3

Agree on the issue of tyres and tarmac. Very poor advice from a road safety and training perspective. But perhaps being cynical the background and agenda of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers is one of maximising their clients through their doors.
Keith

Agree (13) | Disagree (1)
+12

'Injury' Prevention Day - bit of an unusual aim isn't it? Shouldn't it be 'Collision' Prevention Day? There wouldn't be any injuries (or deaths) if there weren't the collisions in the first place.

Same applies to Project Edward - collisions can't be shaped or influenced in advance not to cause deaths.

ps I had the same thought as David re-the 'leave enough space to see the tarmac' riddle - I'm sure others did as well.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (2) | Disagree (2)
0

Seeing tarmac between me and the car in front is for when I'm stationary in traffic - not travelling at any speed: then I'm using the two (or three) second rule in the dry and adjusting accordingly for the weather.
David, Wirral

Agree (14) | Disagree (0)
+14