Motorway pile-up on M6 shows danger of driving too close other cars

Footage released by Highways England shows several cars braking sharply and one being struck by a HGV as they try to stop for an incident ahead on the M6 in Cheshire.

Highways England's Head of Road Safety, Richard Leonard, said: "This footage is a startling reminder about the dangers of driving too closely to the vehicle in front.

"It clearly shows that if you get too close to the car in front, you won't be able to react and stop in time if they suddenly brake.

"We also know that tailgating makes the driver in front feel targeted and victimised, distracting their attention from the road ahead and making them more likely to make a mistake.

"It is intimidating and frightening if you're on the receiving end.

"If that leads to a collision, then people in both vehicles could end up seriously injured or killed. We want everyone to get home safe and well."

The Highway Code says drivers should allow a two second gap minimum, which should be doubled on wet roads.

Therefore if you find yourself in a situation where someone is following close behind, then avoid speeding up or slowing down. The risk of crashing will be reduced by driving normally, signalling clearly and allowing people to overtake.

A survey by Highways England reveals that tailgating is the biggest single bugbear that drivers have about other road users. And in-car research - using dashcams, facial recognition, emotion tracking and heart monitors - reveals that a driver's typical reaction to someone who tailgates them is surprise, anger and contempt, with a spike in heart rate.

Nearly 9 out of 10 people say they have either been tailgated or seen it. And more than a quarter of drivers admitted to tailgating.

Highways England has a dedicated website offering advice on how to drive safely if people find themselves the victim of tailgating.

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