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Tailgating - Stay Safe - Keep Your Distance

tailgating carjam

Driving on the motorway can sometimes be a nervous experience; the speeds involved make everything more ‘high risk.’ If you see a driver randomly nipping between lanes or pressurising other drivers out of the fast lane you are likely to want to ‘keep an eye’ on them – so that you can try and stay out of their way.

While driving on a country road - you may also have this issue. You are unsure of the road layout, it seems there are many twists, turns and dips - you are being sensibly cautious and driving at a safe speed. The driver behind you seems to be in a great hurry and their vehicle is all you can see in your rear-view mirror. You start to feel under pressure to speed up, but you don’t know the road and you don’t feel safe doing so. You are praying for a long clear stretch so they can just overtake you.

Sound familiar?

You may not be surprised to hear that in a recent study – tailgating was marked as the number one greatest driving fear.

According to Highways England 1 in 8 road casualties are caused by tailgating, with over 100 people a year being seriously injured or killed. They have recently launched a ‘Don’t be a Space Invader’ campaign to highlight the dangers.

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What to do if you are being tailgated

  • 1. Drive normally and try not to let the poor behaviour of the driver behind you affect your driving.
  • 2. Don’t speed up, as this may encourage the tailgater to increase their speed behind you.
  • 3. Don’t deliberately slow down. This may inflame any frustration and lead to road rage.
  • 4. Where possible allow them to overtake - by keeping a steady speed.
  • 5. Make sure that you let the driver behind you know exactly what your intentions are by signalling early for a turn off. Because they are limiting their reaction time, they will need the extra assistance.

What to consider if you have been the tailgater in the past

  • 1. Think about the unnecessary stress and pressure you are putting the driver of the vehicle under. It is easy while driving a car to forget about the usual social niceties and judge harshly the drivers who you deem to be driving too slowly or ‘getting in your way.’ But have you considered your actions in the same way?
  • 2. Keep a safe distance and then overtake the vehicle whenever possible. While it may be annoying for a driver to be ‘sitting’ in an overtaking lane on the motorway, forcing them to move by driving aggressively behind them is not the answer and is potentially very dangerous.
  • 3. Punishments for tailgating can range from a £100 fine and 3 penalty points to a driving ban or a prison sentence. Tailgating is dangerous and carries with it real consequences.
  • 4. The Highway Code states that you must leave at least a 2 second gap between cars. When it is raining, it is recommended that you leave a 4 second gap. This is to allow for enough thinking and stopping time.
  • 5. More considerate driving will help to make the roads safer and a less stressful experience. Is there anything you could change about the way you drive to help with this?

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Posted on 9th April 2019 at 3:36 PM

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