A survey of 2,000 UK motorists found one-in-three drivers – the equivalent to 13.4 million nationally – admitted that they have tailgated another vehicle at some point.
Tailgating, where a vehicle follows too closely to the vehicle in front, is illegal and classed as a careless driving offence. If the driver in front suddenly brakes this leaves very little time for the tailgating driver to react, risking an unavoidable accident or even a potential death.
A survey carried out by Highways England found that nearly nine in 10 drivers had experienced the problem.
Drivers caught tailgating risk a fine of £100 and three penalty points on their licence.
How dangerous is tailgating?
In 2018, a study by Highways England showed that one in eight (12.5 per cent) of casualties on major roads in the country were caused by tailgating. The organisation launched a campaign called ‘Don’t Be A Space Invader’ to make road users aware of the dangers of driving too close.
Supporting the campaign, the RAC warned: “Tailgating won’t increase your chances of getting to your destination more quickly, it will simply increase the chances of a serious collision.
“Our message to drivers is that they should keep at least a two second gap, and use the chevrons indicated on some roads to understand what a safe gap looks like in reality. Of course, in poor weather conditions, extra space is essential.”
In the 2021 survey of 2,000 drivers conducted on behalf of Bookmygarage.com, young drivers were twice as likely to tailgate than the average for all age groups. This compares to just 19% of over 65-year-olds.
Regionally, Londoners are by far the most likely to tailgate, with 57% admitting to doing so.
The results also showed motorists believe BMW drivers are the most likely to tailgate, followed closely by Audi drivers.
The Highway Code recommends drivers maintain at least a two-second gap between them and the vehicle in front, which should be doubled on wet roads and increased to 10 times greater in icy conditions.