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Just Back Off

Wednesday 16th August 2017 is Injury Prevention Day. This year, the focus for the Association of Personal Injury Lawyer (APIL) is on road safety. APIL is also relaunching its anti-tailgating campaign called Back Off.

Millions of us of this month will be heading off on holiday hoping for a bit of sun. Whether this is a long trip across Europe, a break in the UK or a drive to an airport there are simple steps that all drivers can take to help improve road safety.

Anyone who has crossed the channel and driven in France will very quickly realise that there is considerably more traffic on British roads. On average there is 50% more traffic on our roads than in Europe. Busy roads and poor driving habits will unfortunately lead to accidents.


Driving too closely to the vehicle in front or ‘tail-gating’ is a huge problem which leads to many unnecessary accidents. It is not only dangerous, but is also anti-social and incredibly intimidating for the driver in front.

APIL are relaunching their campaign called Back Off and urging drivers to maintain a safe distance behind the car in front. This in turn will help to prevent so many accidents from the most serious high speed collisions occurring on motorways to low-speed accidents.

Stopping Distances

Do you know how long it takes to stop when driving at different speeds? Polls have shown that so many drivers are not aware of the typical stopping distances. Stopping distances are also so much further than you might think. Many drivers will also not consider the ‘thinking distance’ before the brakes are even applied.

If you are travelling at 30 mph the average braking distance is 23 meters (together with 9 meters of thinking distance) which is approximately 6 car lengths. At 60 mph, the thinking distance increases to 18 meters and the braking distance increases to 73 meters which is an incredible 18 cars lengths.

These thinking distances should be regarded as the absolute minimum as it is based on drivers who are alert, concentrating and not impaired. Drivers who are tired or distracted will have much slower reaction times meaning that it will take them longer to stop. Braking distances will also increase in wet and icy conditions and for larger and heavier vehicles.

Many factors will therefore have an impact on thinking and braking distances and drivers are unlikely to easily recall the typical stopping distances. This makes for an even stronger case of maintaining a greater distance behind the car in front.

Penalty Fines

In July 2013, the police were given new powers to issue fixed penalty notices for careless driving which includes tail-gating as well as driving in the middle lane or using a mobile phone. The fixed penalty is £100 and 3 points on the driver’s licence. More serious cases will be taken straight to Court.

Simple Safe Driving Advice

Most drivers seem to know that they shouldn’t tail-gate, hog the middle lane or use a mobile phone. Why then, are there still so many accidents on our roads? Unfortunately, fines are necessary so that all drivers understand that careless and dangerous driving will not be tolerated.

Driving too close to the vehicle in front will not get you to your destination any quicker, it will only lead to unnecessary accidents. The simple advice that all drivers should keep in mind is Back Off from the vehicle in front.