Revealed: Tailgating is the biggest cause of distraction for Britain’s drivers

Date Posted 16th June 2022
Read Time 2 min read

We’ve all been there. You’re minding your own business, driving home from work, or taking a weekend road trip, and suddenly you see a fellow driver in your rear-view mirror… so close to your rear bumper that they may as well be sat in your passenger seat. When it comes to driver behaviour, tailgating has been ranked as the biggest cause of distraction for Britain’s motorists, according to a survey by IAM RoadSmart.

Of the 1,000 drivers surveyed, one in three (30 per cent) deemed tailgating to be the most distracting driving habit. The research comes in the wake of figures from National Highways revealing that tailgating is a significant factor, causing in 1 in 8 crashes on their road network.

Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, said: “Tailgating is not just a minor inconvenience, with figures from Highways England revealing that far too many people are being left scared, angry and frustrated by the aggressive and reckless behaviour of tailgaters.

“It is worth remembering that you will cover 62 metres every two seconds when travelling at 70 miles per hour, meaning you need around 96 metres to stop, making adequate stopping distances absolutely critical to curtail the tailgating problem.”

Tailgating was closely followed by children or other passengers as the second most distracting occurrence, with one in four (26 per cent) agreeing that having others in the car can affect their ability to focus on their driving.

The survey also revealed that traffic is a significant source of distraction for motorists, with one in five (21 per cent) rating this as a factor that unsettles them.

See the full results below:

What’s the biggest distraction while driving?
OccurrenceRespondents who ranked it as biggest distraction
Tailgating30%
Children / other passengers26%
Traffic21%
Road works10%
Infotainment7%
Music6%

Neil added: “Whether it’s reckless behaviour from another road user, or even a screaming child, distractions while driving can come in many different forms.

“Drivers should always take control and do all they can to mitigate for them,” he continued. “This way, together we can all ensure Britain’s roads are as safe as they can possibly be.”