Can I be fined for tailgating and what is the two second rule? – The Sun

DRIVING too close to the car in front can be tempting, especially if you're in a rush but it can result in a fine. 

It is easy to slip into an unsafe distance behind the car in front but this is classed as tailgating and is actually illegal. 

What is tailgating and is it illegal in the UK?

Tailgating is when a car drives too close behind the vehicle in front.

Tailgating is illegal in the UK as it is classed as careless driving.

If the driver in front suddenly brakes this leaves very little time for the tailgating driver to react, risking an unavoidable accident or even a potential death.

A survey carried out by BookMyGarage found that 43% of drivers have been in rear-end collisions.

Penalties can start with cops issuing a £100 on-the-spot fine and three points on your licence.

More serious cases are usually dealt with through the courts and can result in a driving ban or even a prison sentence.


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What is the two second rule?

The recommended safe distance each car should maintain while in traffic is called ‘the two second rule’.

This refers to the time it should take to stop a car suddenly without crashing into the vehicle in front.

Pick a spot on the road, such as a street lamp, and begin counting when the back of the car in front passes it and finish counting when you reach that marker. 

If you count more than two seconds then you are a safe distance behind.

Often on the road you will see chevrons painted on the ground, generally being two chevrons behind is an indicator that you're far enough behind. 

In the event that you're too close, begin to slow down or if possible overtake the other car. 

Having a larger distance between you and the car in front could save your life if they brake unexpectedly.

How dangerous is tailgating?

In 2018, a study by Highways England showed that one in eight (12.5 per cent) of casualties on major roads in the country were caused by tailgating.

The organisation launched a campaign called ‘Don’t Be A Space Invader’ to make road users aware of the dangers of driving too close.

Nicholas Lyes, RAC Head of Roads Policy, warned drivers against the dangerous and intimidating practise.

He said: “Tailgating won’t increase your chances of getting to your destination more quickly, it will simply increase the chances of a serious collision.

“Our message to drivers is that they should keep at least a two second gap, and use the chevrons indicated on some roads to understand what a safe gap looks like in reality.

“Of course, in poor weather conditions, extra space is essential.”

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