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Research conducted by road safety charity Brake in conjunction with insurers Direct Line has revealed that despite this high statistic, more than 50 per cent of drivers admit they have tailgated when behind the wheel, with a similar proportion breaking the speed limit by 10mph or more.
By driving too close to a vehicle and breaking speed limits, drivers are leaving themselves less time to react in an emergency which is increasing the risk of a crash. In fact, crashes on 70mph roads are more than twice as likely to result in death than crashes on roads with a lower speed limit.
Further findings from the survey have found that men are more likely to tailgate with 61 per cent admitting to it as opposed to 53 per cent of women. Men are also the worst offenders for breaking the 70mph speed limit on motorways with almost 7 in 10 men admitting to doing 80mph or more.
With the bank holiday weekend ahead, Brake is urging all drivers to keep to the two-second gap between themselves and the vehicle in front on roads as well as motorways; this should be extended to four seconds or more in wet weather or poor visibility. Drivers should also keep within the speed limit at all times to reduce the chances of an accident and keep fuel consumption to a minimum.
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.”
In 2012, there were 88 deaths and 654 serious injuries on UK motorways and whilst the UK’s motorways have proportionately less crashes than other roads, speed is still the biggest killer of road users.