Highways England footage shows dangers of tailgating

13.36 | 26 March 2019 | | 6 comments

Highways England hopes recently published footage will provide a ‘startling reminder’ about the dangers of driving too close to the vehicle in front.

The clip – captured on dashcam in a Highways England patrol vehicle on the M6 in Cheshire – shows several cars braking sharply and one being struck by a HGV as an unrelated incident unfolds up ahead.

The footage has been published as part of an ongoing campaign, which uses the well-known Space Invader video game character to alert drivers to the anti-social nature and risks of tailgating.

‘Don’t be a Space Invader’ was launched in September 2018 on the back of figures showing one in eight road casualties are caused by people who drive too close to the vehicle in front.

Drivers can find out more about tailgating and what they can do to stay safe on the campaign webpage.

Richard Leonard, Highways England’s head of road safety, said: “This footage is a startling reminder about the dangers of driving too closely to the vehicle in front.

“It clearly shows that if you get too close to the car in front, you won’t be able to react and stop in time if they suddenly brake.

“We also know that tailgating makes the driver in front feel targeted and victimised, distracting their attention from the road ahead and making them more likely to make a mistake.

“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 get home safe and well.”



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    In the clip shown above, the SUV and the HGV were actually driving too fast to stop in time and not too close per se and certainly not tailgating! There is a fine line between the two I admit, however I think it is not because they have been taught wrongly as Bob says, it’s just their mindset which causes them to go too fast and too close.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (0) | Disagree (1)

    I don’t believe for one moment that drivers who tailgate are all speeders. Some no doubt are but the vast, vast majority are individuals that have been instructed to drive in such a way not knowing that they are dangerous to themselves and other traffic. Being so trained and watching others do the same thing it has become commonplace and apparently acceptable. They fail to recognise the possible danger as it’s not been made plain for them. They would consider themselves to be good drivers and would not necessarily speed. I blame our training system for encouraging Tailgating.

    Stats show that Tailgating is a large problem and one that if addressed properly and over a long period of time with fewer Tailgating incidents we will reduce the overall crash stats. By up to 75% on main roads and otherwise between 30 and 50% on urban roads.

    Agree (2) | Disagree (1)

    I understand where you are coming from, Hugh, but, close following is always potentially dangerous but speed, as you know, is only dangerous if used at the wrong time, in the wrong place and in, for example, the wrong weather or road conditions.

    Nigel ALBRIGHT
    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

    I don’t see any difference between the speeder and the tailgater to be honest – they’re the same breed and getting them off the road through detection of their speed infringements is easier than trying to detect and prosecute them for tailgating.

    Hugh Jones, West Cheshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (1)

    How very interesting that this very salient point about road safety (over 30% of crashes are front to rear end shunts) has generated just one comment, whereas anything to do with speed and so-called vehicle safety devices generates innumerable ones.

    It is good that the HA is doing something to discourage close following on the basis of safety but, unfortunately, the supporting text still fronts anti-social behaviour as top of the list when it should be the other way around.

    The HA still has not caught on to the fact that the driver of a vehicle which crashes into the back of another is liable to prosecution under HC126, combined with para 3 of the HC Introduction. And the police need to pick up on that as well. What a real difference that would make once the ripple effect of that got around.

    Nigel ALBRIGHT
    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

    This has been published for over two weeks and yet no one has supplied any material for it I wonder why?

    So much time an effort has historically and hysterically been directed on one road safety issue in the main. That of speed and mainly speeds over the speed limit [ which are only responsible for a small number of incidents/collisions]. However the greatest danger seems to be ignored but identified on Highways England’s roads as being a lack of safe space between vehicles at any and all speeds and not being identified as speed related at all. Does that not tell us something.

    We seem to be pussyfooting around this vital issue and it’s about time something was done about it and if drivers appear to have been guilty of an offence then why not institute proceedings against each and every one involved in rear end shunts and that way it will act as a deterrent and perhaps bring the matter to the mind of more drivers thus making our roads safer.

    It seems that at present those involved in such collisions get off lightly and perhaps sympathetically without prosecution and that should not be the case.

    Let’s rid ourselves once and for all of this insidious driving practise.

    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

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