All drivers hate it, and yet most are guilty of doing it.
That’s the finding from a Queensland University of Technology study into tailgating - where a driver follows another too closely, resulting in insufficient time to brake in an emergency.
QUT found one third of all crashes on Queensland roads can be linked to tailgating, and insurer AAMI says nose-to-tail collisions are the most common in Australia.
With this in mind, the University’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q) is trying to learn why drivers feel compelled to follow as closely as possible to the vehicle in front of them - especially when so many object to being followed closely themselves.
"The key to reducing nose-to-tail crashes is to help people understand the importance of keeping a safe distance from other traffic on the road and work out the best way to help people decide what that distance is," QUT’s Dr Judy Fleiter said.
"What this study aims to do is to find out how drivers decide how close to follow another vehicle and whether their ideas of a safe following distance change according to different driving conditions.”
Dr Fleiter said the study would ask drivers if they tailgated because they were disobeying the rules, or because they did not know the rules.
While nose-to-tail collisions result in few fatalities, Dr Fleiter said they were responsible for numerous injuries and were the cause of around 40 percent of claims against Compulsory Third Party insurance (CTP).
"Rear-end crashes bump up everyone's insurance premiums,” Dr Fleiter said.
"We know that when people are travelling too close to the vehicle in front, they are putting themselves and others in danger. Now we'd like to work out better ways of reducing this danger."
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