By Peter Woodman
Motorists should beware of the White Van Man on their tail, according to a survey of thousands of accidents.
Van drivers appeared 47% more likely to be involved in a crash when they were following other drivers too closely, the survey by AXA Business Insurance found.
The survey also found van drivers were much more likely than other drivers to crash while reversing, doing a U-turn and changing lanes, while they were more liable than other road users to get tired or distracted.
But the survey also showed that van drivers were less likely to cause crashes at roundabouts, in towns and cities and while overtaking.
Van drivers safer than average
They were also seen to be more confident drivers who were less prone to drink-driving and speeding than other road users.
While van drivers were found to be safer than the average driver in most UK regions, the study of more than 1.3 million police crash reports from 2008 to 2012 showed they were much more likely than others to be involved in accidents in London and in the north east of England.
They were also more likely to be prone to crashes in the West Midlands and the East Midlands, but less likely than others to be in an accident in Wales, north west England and south west England.
AXA Business Insurance managing director Darrell Sansom said: "The nation's van drivers play a vital role in our economy.
'Tailgating intimidates other motorists'
"Our report shows that in many respects, they are also professional, confident drivers who come out better than everyone else on things like speed, drink-driving and handling heavy traffic.
"However we have to raise the red flag on issues like tiredness and tailgating. We're alerting the government authorities to our findings and discussing our recommendations for addressing these issues."
A Department for Transport spokesman said: "Speeding and tailgating intimidates other motorists and can cause accidents that cost lives.
"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."