Survey shows over half of motorway drivers are tailgaters despite it being our biggest worry about the road

23/05/2014

A survey of 1,000 drivers by road safety group, Brake and insurers, Direct Line, revealed their findings. The survey showed more than half of motorists admit to tailgating on motorways and 60% have broken the speed limit on motorways and dual carriageways by 10mph or more.

Safety campaigners claim that driving too near to the vehicle in front and breaking the speed limit, drivers are leaving themselves with too little time to react in an emergency, resulting in fatal crashes.

Crashes that occur on 70mph roads are two times more likely to result in death as crashes on roads with lower speed limits. In 2012, there were 88 deaths and 654 serious injuries on UK motorways.

The survey found that in the past year 57% of motorists admit leaving less than a two-second gap between themselves and the vehicle in front, with 28% doing this monthly or more. More men admit to doing this than women.

Two-thirds of male drivers admit breaking the 70mph speed limit by 10mph or more, comparing to just 22% of women.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: ‘Almost all drivers are concerned about the danger posed by other people tailgating on motorways, and yet a shockingly high proportion admit driving too close and speeding themselves.

Road safety group, Brake, is urging all drivers to always be aware and keep at least a two second gap in between them and the vehicle ahead, extending this to four seconds in more wet or poor visible weather, on all roads, not just motorways.

Brake is supporting the Highway Agency’s proposals to roll out speed cameras on stretches of ‘smart’ motorways, and has urged that the government need to extend the use of average speed cameras across the network.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: “Almost all drivers are concerned about the danger posed by other people tailgating on motorways, and yet a shockingly high proportion admit driving too close and speeding themselves.”

“There are no two ways about it: ignore the two-second rule or the speed limit on motorways and you’re putting yourself and others at risk of a horrific crash.”

“Traffic laws are not just for other people: all drivers can help make our motorways safer and prevent needless tragedies by committing to keep your distance and stay under speed limits, including temporary lower limits.”

Rob Miles, director of motor trading at Direct Line, added: “Driving too closely to the car in front of you is asking for trouble.”

“Drive too closely at speed and motorists risk not only their own life but other road users’ lives too.”

“Whilst the UK’s motorways have proportionately less crashes than other roads, speed is still the biggest killer of road users. We believe it is better to save lives than to save a few minutes of journey time.”

Simon Sheldon-Wilson, traffic management director at the Highways Agency, said: “Safety is our top priority and we are committed to continuing to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads.”

“Congestion on the strategic road network is estimated to cost the economy £3 billion each year, 25 per cent of which is caused by incidents.”

“That’s why we remind drivers of the dangers of tailgating and support Brake’s advice to keep a safe distance from the car in front and to adhere to fixed and variable speed limits.”

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