Highways England has launched a new campaign to alert drivers to the risks of tailgaiting, as new figures show that driving too close to the vehicle in front causes more than 100 people to be killed or seriously injured each year.
The campaign uses the well-known Space Invader video game character. Highways England said that while a small minority of tailgating is deliberate, most is unintentional by drivers who are unaware they are dangerously invading someone else’s space.
Richard Leonard, head of road safety at Highways England, said: ‘If you get too close to the car in front, you won’t be able to react and stop in time if they suddenly brake.
‘Tailgating makes the driver in front feel targeted and victimised, distracting their attention from the road ahead and making them more likely to make a mistake.
‘It is intimidating and frightening if you’re on the receiving end. If that leads to a collision, then people in both vehicles could end up seriously injured or killed. We want everyone to travel safely, so the advice is - stay safe, stay back.’
Highways England said tailgating is a factor in one in eight casualties on the strategic road network, with more than 100 people killed or seriously injured each year.
A survey by Highways England reveals that tailgating is the biggest single bugbear drivers have about other road users. Nearly nine out of 10 people said they have either been tailgated or seen it. More than a quarter of drivers admitted to tailgating.
The ‘Don’t be a Space Invader - stay safe, stay back’ campaign is supported by former Formula 1 world champion Nigel Mansell, who is President of the Institute of Advanced Motorists RoadSmart.