Drivers in Wales are Britain’s worst tailgaters.
Welsh police recorded more offences than in any other region, and nine in 10 drivers said they were victims of offenders, the worst on motorways.
According to Freedom of Information data obtained by Confused.com, 129 prosecutions for tailgating were recorded by police in Wales since ‘careless driving’ became a fixed penalty offence in 2013.
These convictions have accumulated up to £12,900 in fines for Welsh drivers and account for nearly half of the total 260 violations recorded by nine police forces across the UK since the careless driving law was introduced.
Even though Wales is the UK capital of tailgating, drivers may be surprised that the number of careless driving convictions isn’t higher.
Further research from Confused.com shows four out of five (83%) Welsh drivers witness the offence at least once a month which suggests that careless driving offences such as tailgating may be particularly difficult to police.
Despite Welsh motorists witnessing dangerous driving on our roads on a regular basis, the research suggests that perhaps many are unaware they are doing the same.
Only one in four (24%) admit to tailgating and three quarters (74%) are unaware it’s an offence punishable by three licence points and a £100 fine. In fact, one third (30%) of drivers believe there aren’t currently any penalties for tailgating.
Four out five (80%) drivers in Wales know the correct stopping distance when travelling at 70mph, which suggests more needs to be done to educate drivers of the offence.
Tailgating is an extremely dangerous and risky action, with four out of five people (79%) in Wales believing that motorists who tailgate are putting other road users at risk. And they aren’t wrong, as one in five (18%) drivers in Wales have had an accident or near miss as a result of being tailgated.
One third (31%) of drivers have admitted to breaking the speed limit in order to avoid a tailgater, which arguably increases the likelihood and severity of accidents associated with tailgating.
Half of drivers (49%) say they have moved lane as quickly as possible to let them pass, with two in five drivers (44%) refusing to stoop down to their level and instead stick to the speed limit. Some drivers (37%) have taken matters into their own hands and have admitted to slowing down in order to teach tailgaters a lesson.
The majority of tailgating offences are witnessed on Wales’ motorways (37%), compared to a small number of incidents witnessed on country lanes (8%).
So perhaps it is unsurprising that one third (32%) of drivers in Wales were not taught to drive on motorways after passing their driving test.
When asked their opinions on tailgating, almost half of drivers (41%) in Wales insisted more needs to be done to make drivers aware of the rules of motorway driving, with some also believing motorway driving should be introduced (45%) to driving tests.