Motorists asked to back off

Posted in Connect on October 10, 2019.

DID YOU COMMUTE by car this morning? Notice anyone up close and personal in your rear view mirror? What is more worrying are reports of not alone are motorists been tailgated but cyclists and motorcyclists experiencing it also.

Drinking and driving, speeding and the non-wearing of seat belts feature regularly in road safety campaigns as they are the main contributory factors in most serious traffic collisions. But there are also other factors involved in all road collisions, the non use of the Two-Second Rule.

Previous research has shown tailgating to be the chief bugbear among road users, but it’s much more than just a nuisance.

Previous studies, conducted, revealed that tailgating is also the thing that causes motorists to be the most frightened and distressed while behind the wheel – trumping the fear of actually having a crash.

According to the council’s Road Safety Officer, Noel Gibbons many injury and material collisions could be avoided if drivers were not tailgating. There are thousands of these accidents every year which cause much human suffering and in addition, add significantly to the cost of motor insurance.

Tailgating at speed is a dangerous practice. Many drivers do not realise that total stopping distance is made up of reaction distance and braking distance. Even at 80kph on a dry road, the total stopping distance is 55 metres.

The golden rule is – always drive at a speed which will enable you to stop in the distance you can see to be clear.

“Driving too close to vehicle in front” is a contributory factor of traffic accidents in Ireland. While you are driving you should observe all speed limit signs and to apply the two- second rule, i.e. to stay at a safe distance behind the vehicle in front. You will be able to stop the vehicle safely and will have more time to react, if the vehicle in front suddenly slows down or stops. When you apply the two-second rule, you should select a fixed object on the road ahead such as a road sign, tree or street lamp, etc. When the vehicle ahead of you passes the selected object, start to count “One Thousand and One,One Thousand and Two”. You should not reach the selected object before you count “One Thousand and Two”. If you do, you are driving too close.  When the traffic is busy, you should never drive so fast that you could not stop well within the distance between your car and the car in front. Your speed should be adjusted according to the change of the weather and traffic conditions and should match the flow of traffic.

Kevin Gately Superintendent An Garda Síochána said “It is one of the most dangerous activities on the roads,”. When you are driving within a car’s length, it is beyond human capacity of reacting [in time to avoid a collision]. “That is the reason why there are collisions and the Gardai are absolutely right in targeting this type of behavior.” Drivers who tailgate were risking the lives or others as well as their own, if you are constantly following behind drivers at those kind of speeds and those distances there will be collisions.”

Mr Gibbons said “Being a courteous driver isn’t just about us all feeling warm and fuzzy, it might just help reduce incidents of road rage and make our roads safer,”

“We want drivers to be positive towards each other on the road and it can be as simple as the good old fashioned wave to say thank you when someone lets you in their lane or leaving plenty of room between you and the car in front of you.

“We all know how frustrating it can be if someone is driving slowly in the right lane or they don’t let others merge. Sadly, all too often an aggressive beep of the horn or a four letter word screamed out the window may escalate into a dangerous situation and spiral out of control.

“It’s remarkable how quickly things can be defused by an apologetic wave if you’ve made a mistake that has affected another driver.”

The best way to deal with tailgaters and aggressive drivers, is to simply let them go. If someone’s putting that much effort into getting up your backside and making a scene, you’ll be doing everyone involved a favour simply by letting them by to fly on up the road.

The sooner they get past, the sooner you can stop worrying about them being behind you and the sooner they can stop worrying about you being in front of them. You won’t lose any pride points or have your honour offended, you’re just doing the safe thing.

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