Stay safe stay back

Stay safe - stay back

Driving isn’t a game. Tailgating causes accidents – and you don’t get an extra life in the real world.

In fact, tailgating is the biggest single bugbear that drivers have about other motorway users. Nearly 9 out of 10 (87%) drivers say they’ve experienced or witnessed it.

“Tailgating is a factor in 1 in 8 casualties on the strategic road network.” *


How common is tailgating?

Tailgating is very common on our roads and has many serious consequences. In our survey 25% of drivers admitted to driving too close to the car in front, making it difficult to stop in an emergency.

What emotions were felt

Could you be a space invader?

We associate tailgating with aggressive, ‘own the road’ speed-merchants, trying to intimidate other drivers to get out of their way.

But many of us could be tailgating unintentionally, by misjudging our speed and the distance we need to stop safely.

The Highway Code says you should “allow at least a two-second gap between you and the vehicle in front on roads carrying faster-moving traffic”. The two seconds are made up of the time needed for thinking and stopping. And when it’s raining you need to at least double that gap.

So if you don’t leave a minimum two-second gap, you could be putting yourself and others in danger.


Find out more about stopping distances

Our Space Invader ‘Tailgating’ campaign aims to reduce the number of people who are killed and seriously injured on our roads.

Matthew Avery, Director of Research at Thatcham Research, and Martin Smith, Highways England Traffic Officer, discuss the dangers of tailgating and how to ‘stay safe, stay back’.

Stay safe

Tailgating makes other drivers feel intimidated, scared and bullied. While it may not be intentional by the driver behind, to those in the car in front, it feels aggressive and personal.

Some drivers readily admit to tailgating but wouldn’t dream of drink driving or using a handheld mobile phone. Many of them think and say they are really good drivers

Drivers should stay aware of how dangerous or intimidating their driving could be.

"There is absolutely no upside to tailgating – you will not get to your destination faster, you are not a skilled driver for doing it, and you are putting so many innocent people at risk. So I very much back this campaign to highlight the dangers of tailgating."
Nigel Mansell, Former Formula 1 world champion, President of IAM RoadSmart

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* Overall proportion of casualties recorded using STATS19 data between 2009 and 2018.