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Drivers admit motorway tailgating

Busy motorway22/5/14

By Peter Woodman

Motorway tailgating is a major worry for most motorists but many admit to doing it themselves, according to a survey.

Of 1,000 drivers, a total of 57% owned up to leaving less than a two-second gap between themselves and the next vehicle, the report from road safety charity Brake found.

A total of 28% admitted to tailgating monthly or more often, with men being worse offenders than women.

Yet the poll also revealed that 95% of drivers worry about tailgating with 44% concerned every, or most, times they drive on a motorway. 

Regular speeding

The research also showed that 60% break the 70mph motorway speed limit by 10mph or more, with almost 30% doing so at least monthly.

As many as 69% of men, and 53% of women, do 80mph or more on motorways, with 36% of men and 22% of women speeding regularly.

Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend 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.

"Traffic laws are not just for other people; all drivers can help make our motorways safer."
 

Safety top priority

Simon Sheldon-Wilson, traffic management director for 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 our roads is estimated to cost the economy £3 billion each year, and a quarter of this is caused by the 430,000 incidents we deal with annually.

"As many as 14% of casualties on our roads are caused by people tailgating. That's why we're reminding people to stay safe and keep at least a two-second gap from the car in front."

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "Speeding and tailgating intimidate other motorists and can cause accidents that cost lives.

Motorway tailgaters 'most annoying'

"We take these issues very seriously and last year we increased the fines for speeding offences and introduced a new fixed-penalty offence to make it easier for police to target tailgating drivers."

AA president Edmund King said: "The most annoying drivers I encounter are the motorway tailgaters. These are drivers who insist on driving six inches from your bumper even though you are restricted by traffic ahead. 

"Last year one of these idiots even crashed into me as he was tailgating and dropped his phone - a double whammy of dangerous driving.

"Tailgating was also the number one pet hate among AA members, according to one of our Populus surveys."


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