‘Tailgaters’ and mobile users ‘most dangerous drivers’, survey claims

Drivers who ‘tailgate’ other vehicles and those who use handheld phones while driving are the most dangerous threats on the road, according to a new survey.

Research conducted by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) found that half of the drivers surveyed regarded these two activities as “highly dangerous”.

Drivers, who overtake on single carriageway A-roads when oncoming traffic is present and those who ‘cut up’ others, forcing them to brake, are regarded as the next most dangerous threats.

The survey of almost 700 motorists, which was conducted by BMRB, also found that more women than men found the activities dangerous. Of the women surveyed 60% regarded tailgating as highly dangerous, compared to 47% of men, while 61% of women viewed using a phone while driving as highly dangerous, compared to 44% of men.

Young drivers were also found to be “significantly less likely” to regard other motorists’ activities as dangerous. Only 30% of drivers aged between 17 – 29 regarded ‘phoning and driving’ as highly dangerous and only 40% considered tailgating dangerous, compared to 50% and 55%, respectively, in other age groups.

Commenting on the survey, Steve Norris, a member of the IAM Council and former transport and road safety minister, said: “Many of Britain’s motorists regard other drivers as lacking basic road safety skills. Too many road users slip into bad habits, either through ignorance, impatience or, even worse, aggression. Tailgating and phoning while driving are activities which are a clear threat to the safety of others.”

The IAM is calling on the Highways Agency and other local highway authorities to paint more chevrons on motorways and other fast roads to remind drivers of the ‘Two Second Rule’ – the safe gap between vehicles. The IAM also wants stronger enforcement of the regulation banning use of a handheld phone while driving.

Mr Norris added: “More effective police action would help the government achieve the aim of making ‘phoning-and-driving’ as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving.”


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