Ben Collins – best known for his role as the ‘Stig’ on BBC motoring show TopGear – is supporting a Highways England campaign to tackle 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.
The campaign uses the well-known Space Invader video game character to alert drivers to the anti-social nature and risks of tailgating.
Ben Collins, who is also a championship winning Le Mans racing driver, said: “I discovered the dangers of tailgating at a very early age – in an overly enthusiastic game of musical chairs. The music stopped. So did the kid in front of me. But I didn’t. I face-planted the back of his head instead.
“Following the vehicle in front too closely reduces your vision to zero, along with your time to react to danger. Stay safe, stay back and look ahead.”
As part of the campaign, Highways England launched a dedicated webpage where drivers can find more information about tailgating and what they can do to stay safe.
Highways England also published the findings of a survey which reveals tailgating is the ‘biggest single bugbear that drivers have about other road users’.
The survey suggests that nearly 90% of drivers have either been tailgated or witnessed it, while more than a quarter of drivers admitted to committing the action.
Richard Leonard, head of road safety at Highways England, said: “It’s great to have someone of Ben’s experience backing the campaign and the message today is really simple around tailgating.
“We know that if you get too close to the car in front, you won’t be able to react and stop in time if they brake suddenly.
“Tailgating also 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 travel safely, so the advice is – stay safe, stay back.”