APIL: Tackle Tailgating To Reduce Car Insurance Premiums
22nd November 2013
To mark Road Safety Week, the Association of Personal Injury Solicitors (APIL) is pointing out that many whiplash injury claims could have been prevented if other drivers had not been tailgating or driving to close to other cars.
An online poll by the not-for-profit organisation found that tailgating is the most irritating habit for other motorists, cited by 41% of respondents. This was followed by failing to indicate at 33%, driving at unnecessarily slow speeds at 18%, middle-lane hogging on the motorways at 6% and parking outside of the parking space at 2%.
Responsible Driving Prevents Road Traffic Accidents
If people drove in a responsible way and were considerate towards other road users, then motor vehicle accidents would be far less common, there would be fewer whiplash injury claims or other road traffic accident claims, and insurance premiums should therefore become more competitive. Tailgating is not just annoying behaviour, but is also incredibly dangerous. Rear-end collisions frequently lead to whiplash injuries, and these collisions could be avoided if the responsible driver had left enough space between themselves and the car in front. Road safety experts recommend leaving a two-second gap between vehicles when driving, or one yard for every mph the car is travelling at. This two-second rule will be inadequate in the following months as the first frosts have now hit the UK.
Stopping distances on the countries roads could become ten times longer when they become icy and the importance of leaving plenty of space between cars has become even greater as winter takes hold. Weather reports indicate that the next few months will be incredibly icy and cold, and if drivers do not keep this in mind when behind the wheel, they could find themselves on the wrong end of a personal injury claim, or even facing criminal charges.
There is no point driving too close to the vehicle ahead – this will not speed up a journey, and only poses unnecessary dangers. On average, the UK’s roads are 79% busier than those in Europe, and the practice of tailgating is a factor in a lot of low-speed rear-end collisions – exactly the type of traffic accident that leads to whiplash.
Penalties For Tailgaters
Earlier this year, the government gave the police the power to issue on-the-spot £100 penalties to tailgaters, middle-lane hoggers and other inconsiderate and careless drivers. It is estimated that as many as 50% of drivers on the motorway tailgate, with this rising to 70% on certain stretches, and with tailgating a factor in as many as one-third of motorway accidents that result in personal injury.
Devastating pile-ups could be easily prevented if British drivers were better informed about the risks of tailgating and if awareness-raising campaigns told people about the unnecessary risks of doing so. This would go some way to preventing whiplash injury compensation claims and to lowering insurance premiums. While a £100 penalty for offenders is welcome, more needs to be done to tackle this menace.