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1 May 2008

New research by UK road safety charity Brake suggests that at-work drivers are significantly more likely to tailgate than other drivers. The research indicates that at-work drivers feel under pressure to ‘get there quickly’. In total, 61% of at-work drivers admitted leaving less than a two-second gap with the vehicle in front, compared to 40% of other drivers.

According to UK Department for Transport Road Casualties Great Britain statistics, ‘following too close’ was a contributory factor in 10,024 crashes in 2006, accounting for 720 serious injuries and at least 54 deaths - with motorways a particular blackspot.

‘Hit rear’ or ‘hit in rear’ collisions appear in most of our clients’ top five collision types, and usually make number 1 in terms of cost per incident.

For these reasons, we at Interactive Driving Systems have developed the following 14 tips to help reduce the risks of tailgating, following too close and causing or receiving a ‘rear-ender’.

  1. Plan journeys, allowing enough time to arrive safely without the need to drive hard.
  2. Check brakes, lights, tyre pressure and tyre tread on at least a daily basis.
  3. Don’t tailgate - keep a safe following distance – 2 seconds when the conditions are good, 4 seconds otherwise.
  4. Think about the vehicle behind you, by slowing down earlier and avoiding false starts at roundabouts you give people behind more time and space.
  5. Constantly scan the road ahead, on either side, and in your mirrors to be aware of other road users around your vehicle.
  6. If you are being tailgated, let the other driver pass as soon as it is safe to do so. You should also allow extra room ahead. Then, if you need to, you can slow down gradually and avoid braking suddenly - and being hit from behind by the tailgater!
  7. Plan ahead for intersections and traffic signals and always be ready for sudden stops or movements by other drivers.
  8. Stay calm in traffic, and allow more space between you and the vehicle in front so that you have time to stop. It should take three seconds or more for your vehicle to travel the distance of the gap.
  9. Adjust your speed according to the weight of your vehicle, the vehicles around you and the road conditions. Drivers of loaded vehicles need four seconds or more.
  10. Slow down, particularly when weather and driving conditions change - in the wet, poor visibility or on gravel roads.
  11. Drive defensively by reading the road ahead – and braking early and gently.
  12. Anticipate the good and bad intentions of other road users to avoid accidents.
  13. Pay close attention to other vehicles and changes in their movement.
  14. Always be calm and courteous to other drivers.

For a FREE information sheet for fleet managers and drivers on ‘Keeping your distance’ email (admin@brake.org.uk) or call (01484 559909) Brake.

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