posted 2 months ago

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

Highways England & former ‘Stig’ Ben Collins 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.


Professional racing driver and Hollywood stunt expert supports campaign

Ben, best known for his role on TV show TopGear as the ‘tame’ racing driver in the white suit is also a championship winning Le Mans racing driver. Ben supports the Don’t Be A Space Invader campaign. He emphasises: “I discovered the dangers of tailgating at a very early age - in an overly enthusiastic game of musical chairs. The music stopped. So did the kid in front of me. But I didn’t. I face-planted the back of his head instead.

Following the vehicle in front too closely reduces your vision to zero, along with your time to react to danger. Stay safe, stay back and look ahead."

Danger of death

Richard Leonard, Highways England Head of Road Safety, adds: “if you get too close to the car in front, you won’t be able to react and stop in time if they brake suddenly.” Tailgating also makes the motorist ahead feel “targeted” and “victimised”, 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”.