A shocking 55% of motorists admit to tailgating

More than half of drivers admit they've tailgated another motorists in the last 12 months, a new poll has found.

Other bad road behaviour - including speeding and hogging the middle lane - is also on the rise, according to the report published by the AA.

Despite the suggested decline in driving standards in Britain, the number of road casualties are falling, with the Department for Transport recording a 9 per cent drop in fatalities between June 2022 and 2023.

The Highway Code recommends road users 'allow at least a two second gap between you and the vehicle in front on roads carrying faster moving traffic'. 

The two seconds are made up of the time needed for thinking and stopping. And when it's raining you need to at least double that gap.

However, AA Accident Assist's latest poll of 12,723 members revealed that 55 per cent ignore this rule when leaving a gap to the vehicle in front, making them guilty of hounding other motorists.

Tailgating also occurs in slow moving and stationary traffic. 

And the AA says the dangerous action of tailgating has likely increased in the last eight months alone.

When it surveyed motorists on the same subject back in November 2023, only 32 per cent of 13,400 drivers said they were ignoring the two-second gap rule.

Also in last year's study, 29 per cent of motorists said tailgating is the bad road behaviour that annoys them the most - putting it top of the list for road aggravation.

While tailgating isn't listed as a specific offence, it falls under the broad banner of careless driving.

If caught by police - or a driver is captured tailgating on a dashcam recording that's submitted to the police - the offence and could land offenders with a £100 charge and three penalty points on your licence.

And in the worst case scenarios where tailgating results in a serious collision, perpetrators can receive a driving ban or even a prison sentence.

Other dangerous driving practices the AA identified as getting worse include speeding (55 per cent), middle lane hogging (52 per cent) and overtaking on the inside/left (51 per cent),

Appallingly, more than two in five (44 per cent) drivers say they continue to use their mobile phone while driving, despite recent changes to the law that now sees this offence carry a £200 fine and six penalty points.

And shockingly, almost half (46 per cent) said they'd been involved in a road rage incident in the last 12 months.

The findings come as AA Accident Assist reveals they helped more than 16,000 drivers involved in rear-end crashes in 2023, and around 5,600 drivers so far this year.

According to the latest road casualty statistics, three fifths (60 per cent) of all car collisions occur at junctions.

The AA is calling on 'a more visible police presence' to make 'sure we drive responsibly' and to keep risk taking drivers in check. 

Tim Rankin, managing director of AA Accident Assist, said: 'It is not a shock that tailgating comes top of the list of behaviours worsening on our roads. 

'Indeed, we know that there is a strong chance that a rear-end collisions can turn into a 'concertina collision' where numerous vehicles are damaged.

'Creating at least a two-second gap can help prevent crashes but could also reduce outbursts of road rage.'