Study links tailgating with rear-end crashes
Most drivers not keeping a two second gap.
A study by researchers at QUT’s Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety has conclusively linked tailgating with rear-end crashes.
The study found that as many as 50% of drivers tailgate and that most do not leave the recommended two second gap between their own car and the vehicle in front of them.
The two second gap is the window of time it would take you to safely stop if the car in front of you were to brake suddenly. If you are less than two seconds behind them, then you are likely to run into them before you can stop.
The study, which used Queensland state road crash data and surveyed more than 500 drivers, found that there was a high level of confusion among drivers about what a safe following distance actually is.
Despite drivers believing they were following at a safe distance, the on-road data used in the study clearly showed that most were not leaving the recommended two second gap and in 44% of cases at some locations, were leaving less than one second between themselves and the car they were following.
This confusion prompted QUT road safety researchers to call for a standardised definition of a safe following distance when they presented their findings at the 2017 Australasian Road Safety Conference in Perth last month.
Rear-end collisions account for approximately one in five crashes on Queensland roads and make up 25% of all compulsory third party claims. So anything that can be done to reduce tailgating is sure to be welcomed by all parties, including the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC), which funded the QUT study.