An interesting new "Stay Safe, Stay Back" campaign has been launched by Highways England in effort to encourage safer driving and combat the very common problem of tailgating. The campaign has quickly been backed by the UK government, even ex Formula 1 driver Nigel Mansell has voiced his support, saying -
"Tailgating is a driving habit I utterly deplore. Not only is it aggressive and intimidating, but it can lead to a crash with a tragic outcome. There is absolutely no upside to it - you will not get to your destination faster, you are not a skilled driver for doing it, and you are putting so many innocent poeple at risk, So I very much back this campaign to highlight the dangers of tailing."
Here at All Car Leasing we wanted to let all of our personal leasing and business leasing customers know of the campaign. Tailgating is something that really grinds our gears; it's needless intimidation with consequences (for both parties) that are too great to justify such behaviour. In the event that you do get tailgated, Highways England have suggested some tips on what you should do -
Just drive normally - "The key is to not let the tailgaters poor behaviour negatively influence your own driving. Simply continue to drive safely and cautiously, aware but not affected by their presence."
Allow them to overtake - "Keep a steady speed so they may overtake. Alternatively, pull to the side of the road, or turn off at a petrol station, but only if it safe to do so."
Clearly signal - "Ensure the tailgater has a clear idea of your intentions by signalling early and changing your speed well in advance of a turn off."
Don't speed up - "Generally this will encourage the tailgater to speed up behind you. Continue to travel at a safe speed. Do not allow the pressure from the tailgater to influence you to drive unsafely."
Don't slow down - "Intentionally slowing down to irritate the close follower or tapping the brake lights can trigger road rage and cause more dangerous scenarios to arise."
Don't stare into the rear-view mirror - "It can be tempting to stare at the driver behind but can cause you to lose focus on what's in front of you."
On top of this, we would suggest motorists to consider investing in a dash-cam, it will take away some of the stress in the event of a claim as you'll have video evidence of the party at fault, even more so for those that lease their cars due to the high value of a brand new car.
The figures presented by Highways England show that -
- Tailgating is a factor in 1 in 8 casualties on the road.
- 87% of drivers surveyed in the last 3 months had witnessed a vehicle being driven too close to the vehicle in front.
- Emotions felt: 46% of witnesses felt scared, 46% felt angry, and 31% felt frustrated.
- 25% of participants admitted to "driving too close to the car in front, making it difficult to stop in an emergency".
- More than 100 people are killed or seriously hurt each year in crashes caused by driving too closely to other vehicles.
- 9 in 10 drivers say that have been tailgated, with some left feeling "victimised"
What's the laws view on tailgating?
If you are caught tailgating, police intervention can lead to a £100 fine and three points in your license, a caution, driver improvement course or in some extreme cases, a driving ban or prison sentence, however an earlier study back in 2017 by Confused.com showed that a third of Brits didn't know that tailgating is a fine-able offence, but this is outlined in the highway code that drivers should "allow at least a two-second gap between you and the vehicle in front on roads carrying faster-moving traffic".