Most UK drivers dangerously tailgate & won’t follow ‘two second rule’ – ‘very frightening’

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Some of the busiest roads in the country are being plagued by tailgating drivers according to National Highways and police, despite most car owners saying they know all about the two second rule. A campaign has been launched to try to tackle the issue that causes one in every eight crashes on UK roads.

A recent poll conducted by National Highways, showed eight out of 10 of the drivers asked about tailgating claimed that they are already aware of the two-second rule.

And three out of four said that they had never driven too close to the vehicle in front within the past three months.

But that wasn’t borne out by research into the problem undertaken by police forces who monitored drivers on major roads.

Cameras used on lane one of a stretch of the M1 over 12 months detected vehicles driving too close 60,343 times over the course of one year.

Of those driving too close, 10,994 were captured to be repeat offenders.

Asked to comment on the poll, Brian Gregory, Policy Director of the Alliance of British Drivers, told “It is common sense – but most people aren’t observing anything like a two-second rule.”

He highlighted a lack of education in drivers’ behaviour, and added: “If you try to keep a two-second gap, you sometimes get two or three vehicles trying to get into it.”

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As a result of the trial, National Highways sent 2,144 letters to drivers, warning them that they had driven too close and informing them about the dangers.

The drivers were not prosecuted but instead were provided with educational material.

To use the rule, motorists should allow the vehicle in front to pass a fixed object such as a lamp post or road sign then count to two seconds.

If they reach two seconds before reaching the same reference marker they need to slow down and drop back.

National Highways Head of Road Safety, Jeremy Phillips, said: “Unfortunately, as highlighted by the M1 trial, we know that too many people are driving too close on our roads.

“Most tailgating is unintentional by drivers who don’t realise that they are infringing on someone else’s space.

“But not leaving enough space between you and the vehicle in front is not only very frightening for that driver, it could have devastating consequences.

“The closer you get, the less time you have to react and to stop safely. So to avoid inadvertently getting too close to the vehicle in front, we would urge drivers to use the two-second rule and to always ‘stay safe, stay back’.”

Tailgating can cost a driver a minimum fine of £100 and three penalty points.

It can also lead to prosecution for ‘driving without due care and attention’, and a court appearance.

Jason Wakeford, head of campaigns at Brake, the road safety charity, said it remains crucial that the ‘two-second’ rule is still followed.

He said: “It’s vital that drivers leave enough distance between the vehicle in front in order to react in time to any sudden dangers. We’d urge everyone to respect the two-second rule to keep them, and others on the road, safe.”

Have you experienced tailgating? Have your say in the comments below

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