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Tailgating blamed for 1 in 8 casualties and heart-rate spikes – Highways England

4:10 am, 17th September 2018

The analysis by Highways England, which manages the roads, also found that driving too close to the vehicle in front can cause a spike in a driver’s heart rate.

Dashcams, facial recognition software, emotion tracking and heart monitors were all used in the study, which I was invited to take part in.

After analysing my results, Highways England’s head of road safety Richard Leonard said: “Your results show there’s a clear impact on your driving behaviour.

“Your resting heart rate was 70, at one stage it went up 30% to 104 beats per minute – that’s a result of someone tailgating you. You’re distracted, you’re looking in your rear view mirror, you’re really aware of what’s going on. Other driver behaviour has an impact on you and increases your stress.”

A new campaign is urging drivers to keep their distance. According to the Highway Code, if you are travelling at 70 miles an hour, drivers need 96 metres, or 24 cars lengths to stop in time.

Highways England recorded my 40-minute journey along the M5 and M42 in the West Midlands and found numerous examples of tailgating.

In another example, a van is driving too close to a car in the outside lane.

“That’s aggressive tailgating, that is unacceptable,” says Mr Leonard. “If the green car were to stop, the van wouldn’t be able to react in time and would likely lead to a collision on our network and potentially a serious one.”

If caught tailgating, drivers could face a £100 fine and three penalty points on their licence.

Highways England says that more than a quarter of drivers admit to driving too close to other vehicles.