Tailgating is one of the most common causes of van accidents on UK roads, according to research by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
Figures from the Department for Transport show following too closely is ranked ahead of speeding, drink-driving and poor weather conditions when it comes to triggering collisions.
In total, there were 4,256 accidents reported as vehicles following too close causing 6,184 injuries, including 19 fatalities. 8% of these involved light commercial vehicles – equating to 10 injuries per week.
Vans driving on A-roads are most susceptible to accidents with 55% of all tailgating incidents happening on these routes. Drivers found guilty of tailgating face a £100 fine and three penalty points. In the worst cases, tailgating can result in a driving ban or even a prison sentence if a serious collision occurs as a result.
As well as causing injuries, these accidents force vans off the road and into van centres for costly repairs. Downtime costs fleets an average of £550 a day per van while UK car repair bills stand at an average of £2,137.
This kind of accident should be completely avoidable, using basic defensive driving techniques and sticking to the ‘two second rule’. To combat the problem, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is offering Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) on all its vans. This helps avoid accidents by keeping the vehicle a safe and constant distance from the traffic ahead and allowing drivers to cruise comfortably, as well as automatically slowing and stopping in traffic.
Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart said, “Tailgating is the biggest single bugbear that road users report. Surveys suggest almost half of drivers feel scared and get angry about it. Keeping your distance means you can observe what is happening around and ahead of you much better and gives you time to react to the unexpected.”
Photo: Tailgating causes over 4,000 van accidents a year on UK roads.