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Yorkshire Charity Warns Drivers Against Tailgating

Yorkshire Charity Warns Drivers Against Tailgating

Published by the Yorkshire Coast Radio News Team at 2:30pm 1st March 2012.

More than half of drivers (53%) are risking deadly pile-ups on motorways by driving too close to the vehicle in front, according to research by Brake and Direct Line.

More drivers are taking this deadly risk compared to seven years ago (49%), and men are far more likely to do it than women, with a horrifying three in ten male drivers (30%) doing so at least weekly (see below for full results).

Brake warns that most drivers’ failure to always keep a safe distance adds to the case against raising the motorway speed limit, currently being considered by government.

At 80mph, stopping distances are 27% greater than at 70mph (122m on average compared to 96m at 70mph) [1], meaning drivers are less able to stop in time in an emergency and avoid devastating crashes.

 

Alongside bereaved mum Liz Voysey (see her story below), Brake is calling on the government to scrap plans for 80mph limits, predicted to lead to 25 more deaths and 100 serious injuries every year [2], increase carbon emissions and costs to drivers [3].

Brake and Direct Line’s survey of 942 drivers found that:

  • More than half (53%) admit breaking the two-second rule on motorways, compared to 49% in a similar Brake survey in 2004.
  • Men are far more likely to risk lives by driving too close than women: 61% of male drivers admit breaking the two-second rule on motorways, compared to 46% of women drivers. Twice as many men (30%) admit doing this weekly or more compared to women (15%).
  • Young drivers are slightly more likely to break the two second rule (56% compared to 53%), and are more likely to do this frequently. 30% of young drivers admitted to tailgating on motorways weekly or more, compared to 21% of older drivers.

In Great Britain in 2010, 263 people were killed and 1,445 seriously injured in road crashes on motorways and 70mph roads (most recent figures available) [4].

Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive, said: “Drivers who don’t keep their distance increase the risk of pile-ups, which can and do result in multiple and violent deaths and injuries, and devastation for the families involved. We urge all drivers to realise the vital importance of the two second rule, and make a personal commitment to always stick to it. We are also appealing to the government to ditch proposals to raise the motorway limit – the fact most drivers aren’t keeping their distance only adds to the case against this inhumane policy. Various researchers have predicted an 80mph limit will mean more lives cut short and more horrific injuries, while arguments in favour simply don’t stand up to scrutiny.”

 

Andy Goldby, Director of Motor Underwriting and Pricing for Direct Line Car Insurance, said: “Driving too close to the car in front of you is asking for trouble. Doing it at speed and you’re risking not only your own life but other road users’ lives too. Whilst the UK’s motorways have proportionately less crashes than other roads, crashes on these roads are more likely to be deadly because of the high speeds involved. We believe it is better to save lives than to save a few minutes of journey time.”

 

Advice for drivers

Driving too close to the vehicle in front is incredibly dangerous, particularly at high speeds. The two-second gap drivers should leave on motorways gives them time to brake in an emergency.

Brake is urging all drivers to pledge to always keep a two-second gap behind the vehicle in front, and double it to four seconds in wet weather, and never break speed limits, to help prevent horrific tragedies on motorways and major trunk roads. Road users can sign the Brake’s Pledge on safe driving on Facebook.


In Great Britain 263 people were killed and 1,445 seriously injured in crashes on motorways and 70mph roads in 2010 [5].

 

While there are fewer crashes per mile travelled on motorways, if you crash on these roads, your chance of death or serious injury is massively increased because of the speeds involved. Crashes on 70mph roads are more than twice as likely to result in death than crashes on roads with lower speed limits [6]. The faster you drive, the less chance you have of avoiding a crash, and greater the impact if you do collide.

 

Almost one in five fatal crashes on motorways involve four or more vehicles [7]. These kinds of crashes often cause multiple deaths and injuries, and the resulting congestion and tailbacks can cause further crashes.

 

[1] See, the science of stopping distances, Brake, 2010

[2] Read research by Professor Rune Elvik in the Guardian, 25 December 2011

[3] See, Motorway speed increase would increase casualties and carbon emissions, 14 March 2011

[4] Reported road casualties 2010 annual reports, Department for Transport, 2011

[5] Reported road casualties Great Britain annual reports 2010, Department for Transport, 2011

[6] Reported road casualties Great Britain annual reports 2010, Department for Transport, 2011

[7] Reported road casualties Great Britain annual reports 2010, Department for Transport, 2011

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