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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 19:33 
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RobinXe wrote:
There is already a law to cover it, so you don't need another one.

I've had a quick Google; I can’t find any instances where it has been applied, yet I'm sure we all could recount many occurrences when it really should have been.

Grumpy Old Biker wrote:
What you are claiming is entirely valid. Tailgating is stupid beyond reason. But try and define it. You’ll end up with something as ineffective as Speed Cameras.

Speed cameras are ineffective because they were abused by overuse and inappropriately set thresholds. They should have been set to trigger at (likely) nutcase speeds (if it were the case :ss: wouldn't exist). This could be applied to tailgating enforcement: we just need to define where we know the spirit of the law isn't being adhered to. For example: the gap could be set where unforeseen emergency braking of a vehicle in front would lead to contact. This would equate to the recognition/reaction/application time; 500ms would be on the optimistic side so I would suggest this is used as the prosecution threshold. This would even account for speed and conditions. It would assume equal braking performance of the two vehicles (the lagging driver cannot assume their brakes are better than that of the vehicle in front).
I would hope we would all agree that a gap of less than 0.5 sec is needlessly risky.

For those with good intentions who were carved up: well that’s another good reason to have trafpol doing the job instead of cameras!

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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 20:09 
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PeterE wrote:
I'm not defending it, but is tailgating really a major cause of accidents? . . . . . .If your attention is elsewhere it's all too easy to run into the back of someone even if two, three or four seconds back from them.


That second or two has been scientifically proven to make all the difference, and it’s accumulative! – heavens there have been enough programmes/documentaries on the subject over the past 15 or 20 years, maybe longer.

Re the major accidents – that little rear end shunt is often the start of that major motorway pile up, and even when something else started it that lack of driving space (not necessarily aggressive tailgating) is what turns a two or three vehicle accident into the pile up. Tailgating gets lost in “they were driving too fast” whines that we get.

What could be simpler than keeping a good distance from the vehicle in front anyway. Education is the real answer, but whilst people refuse to be educated . . .


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 20:30 
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smeggy wrote:
For example: the gap could be set where unforeseen emergency braking of a vehicle in front would lead to contact.

Yeah... The point of leaving a gap is so that it can get shorter if something bad happens, rather than the front of your car getting shorter...
So there will always be occasions when people end up too close for some reason, even if it's only for a short while.

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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 06:27 
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Ziltro wrote:
smeggy wrote:
For example: the gap could be set where unforeseen emergency braking of a vehicle in front would lead to contact.

Yeah... The point of leaving a gap is so that it can get shorter if something bad happens, rather than the front of your car getting shorter...
So there will always be occasions when people end up too close for some reason, even if it's only for a short while.



There seems to be an overall opinion that as soon as the safe gap closes then you are (or would be) in breach of the law. This is not so providing that you drop back and ‘replace’ the gap straight away. Where countries have a specific law for tailgating this is taken into account. Mind you we could have a problem where a dough-brain Mr Plod wants to rack up his ticks in boxes, but that’s another story and applies to many other things already.

My petition deliberately did not complicate matters by trying to define precisely what tailgating is. The first step is to get HMG to recognise that the good Mr Plod (there are some out there – honest) needs something to hang his (or her) hat on when needed. The next debate is going on here and now already.


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 09:15 
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smeggy wrote:
...we just need to define where we know the spirit of the law isn't being adhered to. For example: the gap could be set where unforeseen emergency braking of a vehicle in front would lead to contact. This would equate to the recognition/reaction/application time; 500ms would be on the optimistic side so I would suggest this is used as the prosecution threshold. This would even account for speed and conditions. It would assume equal braking performance of the two vehicles (the lagging driver cannot assume their brakes are better than that of the vehicle in front).
I would hope we would all agree that a gap of less than 0.5 sec is needlessly risky.


I think you may have proved my point. I expect many would view a min. 0.5 sec gap as insanely close. In the rain, dark, fog, etc. it would be insane.

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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 09:18 
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JohnW1st wrote:
PeterE wrote:
I'm not defending it, but is tailgating really a major cause of accidents? . . . . . .If your attention is elsewhere it's all too easy to run into the back of someone even if two, three or four seconds back from them.


That second or two has been scientifically proven to make all the difference, and it’s accumulative! – heavens there have been enough programmes/documentaries on the subject over the past 15 or 20 years, maybe longer.


What do you mean: 'scientifically proven'? How and by whom?

We clearly need 'time to react' whenever we're driving, but you can 'give' drivers time to react; they make it by observation, anticipation and planning.

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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 10:23 
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Grumpy Old Biker wrote:
I think you may have proved my point. I expect many would view a min. 0.5 sec gap as insanely close. In the rain, dark, fog, etc. it would be insane.

I understand what you're getting at; the problem is that someone will always argue the shades of grey: "it wasn't that wet/dark/foggy". As far as I'm concerned a prolonged gap of less than 500ms is inexcusable - this seems like a good starting point (to me anyway). Surely it's better than doing nothing resulting from the inability to generally define the safe cuttoff?


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 10:45 
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smeggy wrote:
Surely it's better than doing nothing resulting from the inability to generally define the safe cuttoff?


I disagree. As I said before, it’s similar to a speed limit – one minute it can be perfectly safe, the next it may be far too fast. It is impossible to define numerically.
A safe following distance will always be determined by many other factors, and all the information on how that distance is determined is out there. Risk management, observation, anticipation, planning are the things that must be learnt, not some arbitrary distance which will rarely be relevant.

Tailgating defies any logic and is probably borne out of frustration. Current road safety policy almost certainly fuels that frustration.

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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 13:19 
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Grumpy Old Biker wrote:
I disagree. As I said before, it’s similar to a speed limit – one minute it can be perfectly safe, the next it may be far too fast. It is impossible to define numerically.

OK, let me put it another way: could leaving a gap of less than 500ms for a prolonged period (say more than 5 secs) ever be considered safe?
As for the speed limit analogy: could driving at more than say 50mph (even a blip) on a residential road ever be considered safe?

Grumpy Old Biker wrote:
A safe following distance will always be determined by many other factors, and all the information on how that distance is determined is out there.

With what I propose I have assumed these factors as being at best case (considering the possibility of emergency braking), so leaving no room for interpretation.

Grumpy Old Biker wrote:
Risk management, observation, anticipation, planning are the things that must be learnt, not some arbitrary distance which will rarely be relevant.

Learnt the hard way? I wouldn’t agree that the figure of 500ms is arbitrary; also it should be generally treated as a minimum.


Looking at it from another angle: do you suggest we let (the less considerate) drivers to continue leaving their < 100ms gaps? Sure we can teach risk management but they’ll always be some nutter who will continue to take the p*ss. We can't continue to do nothing about it can we?


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 14:22 
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smeggy wrote:
Grumpy Old Biker wrote:
I disagree. As I said before, it’s similar to a speed limit – one minute it can be perfectly safe, the next it may be far too fast. It is impossible to define numerically.

OK, let me put it another way: could leaving a gap of less than 500ms for a prolonged period (say more than 5 secs) ever be considered safe?
As for the speed limit analogy: could driving at more than say 50mph (even a blip) on a residential road ever be considered safe?


A bit slim but how about hypothetically

You are in a stream of traffic which begins braking, you were doing a mirror check at that moment so by the time you brake and stabilise the gap to the car in front you are under the 500ms gap. Do you continue to match braking or increase your braking to open out a gap knowing that this is going to push the car behind you into braking harder still?

Very specific I know but just the sort of thing you might get you caught by an automated billing (sorry - safety) system. Knowing you might get caught for tailgating may make you brake harder to open the gap when it may not be the safest thing to do.

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 Post subject: Re: Tailgating
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 14:29 
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JohnW1st wrote:
[color=darkred]Currently tailgating is one of the greatest causes of accidents on our roads, yet in this country it is not a specific offence.

Firstly, :welcome: and secondly, we don't need another law - we need the current ones enforcing. Like DWDCA or Dangerous Driving...

And these laws can only be enforced by having trafpol out there...

Introducing more and more specific laws is a waste of money, but it makes the people who make these laws look good and as if they're actually doing something about a problem...

Like everyone else on this site, I believe we need better driver training...

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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 14:34 
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smeggy wrote:
.. could leaving a gap of less than 500ms for a prolonged period (say more than 5 secs) ever be considered safe?


Yes. On a motorcycle we can travel VERY close if we are offset. (I will have an escape route.) Not only is it safe, to my knowledge it’s still perfectly legal.

smeggy wrote:
.. could driving at more than say 50mph (even a blip) on a residential road ever be considered safe?


Absolutely, of course it can.

smeggy wrote:
With what I propose I have assumed these factors as being at best case (considering the possibility of emergency braking), so leaving no room for interpretation.


So what happens when things go tits-up? If you tell people they are legal up to 500ms, won’t they interpret that as safe? We already have the 2 second rule and it’s a great starting point. It really only becomes unsafe in poor conditions.

smeggy wrote:
I wouldn’t agree that the figure of 500ms is arbitrary; also it should be generally treated as a minimum.


I really can’t see why you see a necessity for a minimum figure. Ok so it’s not arbitrary, but it’s based on your best-case scenario and therefore hardly ever safe for most people.

smeggy wrote:
Looking at it from another angle: do you suggest we let (the less considerate) drivers to continue leaving their < 100ms gaps? Sure we can teach risk management but they’ll always be some nutter who will continue to take the p*ss. We can't continue to do nothing about it can we?


The nutter will always be such and we know we can’t legislate to cure him, but there are enough laws already to prosecute him. I for one, would not thank you for making another of my perfectly safe manoeuvres, illegal.

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 13:54 
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Bott Burp I agree with you 100%, it's little use having a law if there are not the forces to police it.

If someone were to put up a petition to double the size of police traffic officers out on the roads I'd sign straight away....

Think I might just put it up myself.

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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 20:48 
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I was watching a foreign TV news show last week which did a feature on speed cameras and other technology on the German Autobahns, where some of the cameras can now detect tailgating by measuring the seperation distance between vehicles.

The general rule of thumb given to avoid falling foul of these cameras is to have a minimum separation distance in metres which is at least half the figure that is shown on the speedo in km/h.

e.g. if you are travelling at 160km/h (approx. 100mph), the minimum seperation distance should be at least half of 160, i.e. 80 metres.

By using this principle, the minimum separation time in every instance works out to be approx. 1.8s.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 21:05 
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Mandat wrote:
The general rule of thumb given to avoid falling foul of these cameras is to have a minimum separation distance in metres which is at least half the figure that is shown on the speedo in km/h.

e.g. if you are travelling at 160km/h (approx. 100mph), the minimum seperation distance should be at least half of 160, i.e. 80 metres.

By using this principle, the minimum separation time in every instance works out to be approx. 1.8s.


Hmmm. I can just see some of our drivers tying their brains in knots trying to do the simple mental arithmetic involved in calculating their own following distance and then trying to visualise how far this actually is on the road.


Last edited by Rigpig on Tue May 29, 2007 21:07, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tailgating
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 21:07 
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JohnW1st wrote:
Currently tailgating is one of the greatest causes of accidents on our roads,


You can back that up?

Making it bold and a different colour does not make it fact.

Enforcing the two second rule or a 1.6 second rule or a 0.5 second rule will not make the roads safer, it will change drivers priorities (as we have seen with speed cameras) with potentially dangerous results.

There is only one law we need and that is "dangerous driving", making a multitude of minor offences is pointless.


Last edited by Homer on Wed May 30, 2007 04:06, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 22:15 
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Rigpig wrote:
Mandat wrote:
By using this principle, the minimum separation time in every instance works out to be approx. 1.8s.


Hmmm. I can just see some of our drivers tying their brains in knots trying to do the simple mental arithmetic involved in calculating their own following distance and then trying to visualise how far this actually is on the road.

:rotfl:
I mean, we're not allowed to use a phone anymore because we can't concentrate, so I agree with Riggers...

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 Post subject: Re: Tailgating
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 23:16 
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Homer wrote:
JohnW1st wrote:
Currently tailgating is one of the greatest causes of accidents on our roads,


You can back that up?

Making it bold and a different colour does not make it fact.


That assertion is a bit simplistic. How about "Failing to allow adequate space is the greatest cause of accidents on our roads".

It is all about space. In any repeat any crash/near miss/hazard situation, the risk is mitigated by - more space.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 06:32 
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If you can stop safely in the distance you see clear in front of you then you are at a safe distance from the vehicle in front...
The acid test is if the vehicle in front slows dramatically or stops, you are too close if you hit it....

If you are carved up, dunno about anyone else, but my first reaction is to ease off the throttle and re-instate a safe gap.

If you are positioning to overtake, getting as close as you can to the car in front before pulling out for the manoeuvre isn't really safe as you need to give yourself time to counter any unexpected manoeuvre that the slower vehicle *may* make.
Treat the other driver as if he/she is a complete idiot and expect the unexpected and give yourself time to react.

True Tail-gaters invariably run up the ass of the guy in front if he slows or stops as they just haven't any room to do anything else.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 12:03 
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Generally there are two types of persistent tailgaters (at least in my experience):

1. Mr Aggressive - "I'm in a BMW/Mercedes" (or sadly Audi lately, I say sadly as I'm an Audi driver myself), "get out of MY lane of MY motorway".

2. Mrs Ignorant - "oh, you mean I need to leave a GAP? I had no idea!" - this is the type that will follow you through lane changes and hang off your bumper, totally unaware that they're too close to you. 40-something female in a Vauxhall Vectra or Zafira are the commonest (but by no means the only) offender.

Type 2 is far more dangerous. Type 1 knows he's too damned close to you and is probably expecting you to hit the anchors (although you occasionally get the Boy Racer aggressive tailgaters who don't appreciate that your brand new Audi is going to stop a hell of a lot quicker than their 13-year-old Corsa).

But then there's Mr Advanced Driver who's taking up the overtaking position behind Mr SlowAP. That's not "tailgating", it's momentarily closing the gap.

So no, I don't think it should be a specific offence. Let's have more trafpol and deal with the Type 1s with a slap on the wrist the first time (and amputation the second) and a Type 2s with a verbal warning.


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