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Over half of drivers admit to motorway tailgating

Carried out by Brake and Direct Line, a survey of 1,000 drivers has revealed that almost six in ten (57%) admit to leaving less than a two-second gap between themselves and the vehicle in front, with almost three in ten (28%) doing so monthly or more. More men (61%) admit doing so than women (53%).

Yet, almost all drivers say they worry about other drivers tailgating on motorways: 95% are at least occasionally concerned about vehicles too close behind them; more than four in ten (44%) are concerned every, or most, times they drive on a motorway.

The survey also found that six in ten (60%) drivers admit breaking the 70mph speed limit by 10mph or more, with almost three in ten (28%) doing so monthly or more. Men are the worst offenders, with almost seven in ten (69%) doing 80mph or more, and more than a third (36%) doing so at least monthly, compared with just over half (53%) and two in ten (22%) women, respectively.

In response, Brake urges all drivers to always keep at least a two-second gap between themselves and the vehicle in front, extending this to four seconds or more in wet weather or poor visibility – on all roads, not just motorways. It added that drivers should also keep within the posted speed limit at all times, including temporary and variable limits, not only for safety reasons but also to reduce fuel consumption.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: ‘Almost all drivers are concerned about the danger posed by other people tailgating on motorways, and yet a shockingly high proportion admit driving too close and speeding themselves. There are no two ways about it: ignore the two-second rule or the speed limit on motorways and you're putting yourself and others at risk of a horrific crash. Traffic laws are not just for other people: all drivers can help make our motorways safer and prevent needless tragedies by committing to keep your distance and stay under speed limits, including temporary lower limits.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.