Tailgating is to blame for one in eight serious accidents on motorways and major A-roads, Highways England has warned, as it urges drivers to ‘snap out of autopilot’.Highways England, which manages the roads, said more than 100 people are killed or seriously injured each year in accidents where a vehicle has driven too close to the one in front.Of the 16,233 casualties on motorways and major A roads in England in 2016, 1,896 involved tailgating.Richard Leonard, head of road safety at the state company, said: “We think that most of it is simply unintentional, people don’t realise they’re driving too close to people … sometimes they’re on autopilot.”Most of us just do it … we drive on autopilot and sometimes on autopilot you do creep up to the vehicle in front of you, you don’t realise you’re doing it.” He described tailgating, the third highest contributing factor for all motorway casualties, as a “key issue”. The highest contributing factor is a failure to look properly and the second highest cause is failing to judge another driver’s path or speed, such as when someone pulls out at a junction. The Highway Code says drivers should allow at least a two-second gap between vehicles, which is doubled on wet roads.More than one in four drivers in England admit they have driven so close to the car in front it may have been difficult to stop in an emergency in the last three months, according to a poll of 1,109 people. This suggests that millions of drivers are tailgating on the country’s roads. Mr Leonard said: “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.”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.”Highways England has launched a campaign named Don’t Be A Space Invader, which is based on the popular arcade game.The campaign is supported by Formula 1 world champion Nigel Mansell, who described tailgating as “a driving habit I utterly deplore”. The Highway Code says drivers should allow at least a two-second gap between vehicles, which is doubled on wet roadsCredit:Ben Birchall/PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Powered By Impressive Business WordPress Theme