Tens of thousands of drivers were caught “tailgating” on the motorway last year, the latest figures have revealed.
The data, published by National Highways, shows that huge numbers of motorists are “failing to follow basic safety rules on the country’s busiest roads”.
Under the Highway Code, drivers must allow at least a two-second gap between them and the vehicle in front on roads carrying faster-moving traffic and in tunnels where visibility is reduced. This is equal to 53 metres when driving at 50mph and 96 metres when driving at 70mph. The gap should be doubled on wet or icy roads.
But the latest research reveals that some 60,343 drivers were caught tailgating – defined as driving too close to the car in front – on one stretch of the M1 in the last year alone.
Drivers caught in the trial were not prosecuted but National Highways will use the data to inform future enforcement activity.
Driving too close to another vehicle can result in prosecution for ‘driving without due care and attention’, carrying a minimum fine of £100 and three penalty points and in some cases more severe penalties or a court appearance.
According to the roads regulator, tailgating is also behind one in eight crashes on England’s motorways and major A roads.
“Unfortunately, as highlighted by the M1 trial, we know that too many people are driving too close on our roads”, said National Highways Head of Road Safety Jeremy Phillips.
“Most tailgating is unintentional by drivers who don’t realise that they are infringing on someone else’s space. But not leaving enough space between you and the vehicle in front is not only very frightening for that driver, it could have devastating consequences.”
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