Image by Kim Traynor

Do you drive too close to the vehicle in front on motorways?

More than half of drivers (53%) are risking deadly pile-ups on motorways by driving too close to the vehicle in front, it has been revealed by the latest research by Brake and Direct Line.

The survey was conducted across 942 drivers which found that:

  • More than half (53%) admitted to breaking the two-second rule on motorways, compared to 49% in a similar Brake survey in 2004.
  • Men are far more likely to risk lives by driving too close than women. With 61% of male drivers admit breaking the two-second rule on motorways, compared to 46% of women drivers. Twice as many men (30%) admit doing this weekly or more compared to women (15%).
  • Young drivers are slightly more likely to break the two second rule (56% compared to 53%), and are more likely to do this frequently. 30% of young drivers admitted to tailgating on motorways weekly or more, compared to 21% of older driverss.

Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive, said: “Drivers who don’t keep their distance increase the risk of pile-ups, which can and do result in multiple and violent deaths and injuries, and devastation for the families involved. We urge all drivers to realise the vital importance of the two second rule, and make a personal commitment to always stick to it. We are also appealing to the government to ditch proposals to raise the motorway limit – the fact most drivers aren’t keeping their distance only adds to the case against this inhumane policy. Various researchers have predicted an 80mph limit will mean more lives cut short and more horrific injuries, while arguments in favour simply don’t stand up to scrutiny.”

Brake is urging all drivers to pledge to always keep a two-second gap behind the vehicle in front, and double it to four seconds in wet weather, and never break speed limits, to help prevent horrific tragedies on motorways and major trunk roads. Road users can sign the Brake’s Pledge on safe driving on Facebook.

The facts

In Great Britain 263 people were killed and 1,445 seriously injured in crashes on motorways and 70mph roads in 2010. 

While there are fewer crashes per mile travelled on motorways, if you crash on these roads, your chance of death or serious injury is massively increased because of the speeds involved. Crashes on 70mph roads are more than twice as likely to result in death than crashes on roads with lower speed limits. The faster you drive, the less chance you have of avoiding a crash, and greater the impact if you do collide.

Almost one in five fatal crashes on motorways involve four or more vehicles. These kinds of crashes often cause multiple deaths and injuries, and the resulting congestion and tailbacks can cause further crashes.

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