Shocking video footage of a motorway crash has been shared by road authorities to highlight the dangers of tailgating.
The dash cam footage was captured by a Highways England motorway patrol on the M6 in Cheshire and shows the dangerous consequences of driving too close to the vehicle in front.
It shows traffic on the motorway coming to a sudden stop but one car, travelling too close to the one in front isn’t able to stop in time and smashes into the rear of the car ahead. It is then slammed into by an articulated lorry, which lifts the car off the ground with the force of the impact.
A survey by Highways England revealed that tailgating is the biggest annoyance for drivers, with 90 per cent of motorists having been the victims of it and 25 per cent admitting to being guilty of it.
And crash data suggests it is the cause of one in eight road casualties on motorways and A-roads.
Highways England’s head of road safety Richard Leonard said: “This footage is a startling reminder about the dangers of driving too closely to the vehicle in front.
“It clearly shows that if you get too close to the car in front, you won’t be able to react and stop in time if they suddenly brake.
“We also know that tailgating makes the driver in front feel targeted and victimised, distracting their attention from the road ahead and making them more likely to make a mistake.
“It is intimidating and frightening if you’re on the receiving end. If that leads to a collision, then people in both vehicles could end up seriously injured or killed. We want everyone to get home safe and well.
The Highway Code states that drivers should leave at least a two-second gap between them and the car in front. When the road is wet, this doubles to four seconds and should be increased even further on snowy or icy roads where stopping distances can be ten times greater.
Despite the dangers of getting too close, millions of drivers would risk an accident by “brake testing” a following driver to get them to back off.
Highways England’s advice for anyone who is being tailgated is to avoid speeding up, slowing down or staring in the rear-view mirror. Reduce the risk to yourself by driving normally, signalling clearly and allowing people to overtake.