posted 4 weeks ago

Don’t Be a Space Invader, Says Anti-Tailgating Campaign

Highways England & F1 Champion Nigel Mansell join forces for a safety campaign that strives to eliminate tailgating

Tailgating causes countless collisions

The Don’t Be A Space Invader campaign claims one in eight road casualties are caused by dangerous, reckless, motorists that tailgate traffic ahead – so “stay safe and stay back”. Highways England – the organisation that runs the campaign - adds that nine out of ten motorists have been tailgated or seen others so impeded.

Motorists that tailgate risk causing a collision that kills, injures, and physiologically cripples themselves and anyone in close proximity caught in the mayhem. Why? Because driving too close ensures there is not enough time to see the traffic ahead slowing, react and pull back. Sensible drivers have no such issues.

It is for these reasons that mature, responsible, drivers say tailgating is “the biggest single bugbear” on the road, Highways England confirms. Furthermore, even if there is no collision such actions cause distress. Research, therefore, involving dashcams, facial recognition, emotion tracking and heart rate monitors suggests that a typical reaction is “surprise, anger and contempt”.

Safety film

Highways England emphasises such points via a short film that is based on Space Invaders; the classic arcade game. It opens with a motorist in the outside lane of a dual carriageway. A space invader then appears, moves closer and closer and the driver gets increasingly tense. “Don’t be a space invader”, the film concludes.

Formula 1 World Champion supports campaign

Nigel Mansell, CBE, Formula 1 World Champion and President of the Institute of Advanced Motorists RoadSmart, supports the Don’t Be A Space Invader campaign. He emphasises: “Tailgating is a driving habit I utterly deplore. Not only is it aggressive and intimidating it can lead to a crash that has a tragic outcome.” Mr Mansell adds:

“There is absolutely no upside to it. You will not get to your destination faster, you are not a skilled driver for doing it, and you are putting so many innocent people at risk. I very much back the campaign to highlight the dangers of tailgating”, he concludes.

Danger of death

Richard Leonard, Highways England Head of Road Safety, adds: “If you get too close to the car ahead you cannot react and stop in time if it brakes suddenly.” Tailgating also makes the motorist ahead feel “targeted” and “distracted”, he says. Such things increase the probability of a collision, deaths and serious injury.

Clearly, the purpose of the safety campaign is to reduce such incidents. “We want everybody to travel safely”, Mr Leonard affirms. The advice is therefore simple: “stay safe and stay back”.