Tailgating at its worst in east of England

Tailgating is more common on faster roads. Picture: PA

Tailgating is more common on faster roads. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

Tailgating is said to be worse in the east of England than anywhere else in the UK but many drivers may not be aware they are even committing the offence.

The east of England has suffered tailgating more than any other region in the UK as nine in 10 (90%) drivers have been victimised by the careless driving habit.

New Freedom of Information data, obtained by Confused.com, reveals that only 61 drivers in the east of England have been caught tailgating since the offence of careless driving became punishable by a £100 fine and three points in 2013.

While this accounts for nearly a quarter (23%) of all UK tailgating offences, some may be surprised the figures aren't higher given that so many people in the east of England are put at risk by the offence.

The research from car savings site Confused.com shows a total of 260 tailgating offences have been recorded in the UK in the past four years, accounting for just 3% of 9,387 careless driving violations. But with 45% of drivers in the east of England being tailgated at least once a week, it seems likely that some of the 'careless driving' offences recorded could be attributed to tailgating behaviour. However, some offenders may be simply escaping punishment.

In this region:

26% of drivers in the region have had an accident or near-miss as a result of tailgating.

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47% of victims quickly changed lanes to let a bullying tailgater pass.

36% ignore tailgating motorists and stick to their lane and speed.

31% admitted being forced to break the speed limit because of a tailgater with 4% getting a speeding ticket or fine.

Just 21% have admitted to committing the offence themselves – suggesting we may have some oblivious tailgaters on our roads.

Perhaps this can be explained in that only one in five (22%) drivers are actually aware of the correct stopping distance when travelling at 70mph on a motorway and nine in 10 (85%) drivers don't know the correct punishment for the offence. In fact, a third (37%) do not realise that tailgating is even punishable by law.

Tailgating is most commonly witnessed on roads with higher speed limits, such as motorways (21%) and A roads (21%). So it's not surprising that as many as two in five (39%) drivers in the east of England were not taught to drive on motorways after passing their test, and nearly half (48%) believe motorway driving should be introduced as part of the driving test.

With better education and awareness of correct stopping distances on the motorway, some drivers may think twice about travelling close behind other road users.

Have you had an unpleasant tailgating experience? Email motoring@archant.co.uk

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