Drivers believe driving standards are falling.

A new poll has found that more than half of drivers admit they’ve tailgated another motorist in the last 12 months.

Speeding and hogging the middle lane, amongst other issues, are also on the rise, according to the report published by the AA.

It’s behind you

While people believe standards are dropping on the road, the latest road casualties  show a fall in death and injuries on the road.

The Department for Transport has provisionally recorded a 9% drop in fatalities between June 2022 and 2023.

Regarding tailgating, the Highway Code recommends that road users ‘allow at least a two-second gap between you and the vehicle in front on roads carrying faster-moving traffic’.

The two seconds are made up of the time needed for thinking and stopping. And when it’s raining, you need to at least double that gap.

However, AA Accident Assist’s latest poll of 12,723 members revealed that 55% admit to ignoring this rule.

On your back

Looking at the data, the AA believes tailgating has likely increased in the last eight months alone.

When it surveyed motorists on the same subject in November 2023, only 32% of 13,400 drivers said they ignored the two-second gap rule.

Also, in last year’s study, 29% of motorists said tailgating is the bad road behaviour that annoys them the most, putting it at the top of the list for road aggravation.Driving standrads falling

While tailgating isn’t listed as a specific offence, it falls under the broad banner of careless driving.

If caught by police, offenders can face a £100 penalty charge and three points on their licence.

In the worst-case scenario, where tailgating results in a serious collision, perpetrators can receive a driving ban or even a prison sentence.

Moving responsibilities

Other dangerous driving practices admitted to include speeding (55%), middle lane hogging (52%) and overtaking on the inside/left (51%),

Appallingly, more than two in five (44%) drivers say they continue to use their mobile phone while driving.

This shocking admission comes despite recent changes to the law that now sees this offence carry a £200 fine and six penalty points.

Nearly every piece of research into phone use behind the wheel, hands-free or in-hand, shows it is as dangerous as drink driving.

Despite this, the addictive nature of mobile phones seems to cloud people’s sense of responsibility when driving.

Getting the hump

All this is enough to make other drivers angry.

Unsurprisingly, almost half (46%) said they’d been involved in a road rage incident in the last 12 months.

The findings come as AA Accident Assist reveals they are dealing with more rear-end crashes.

AA Accident Assist dealt with more than 16,000 rear-end crashes in 2023, and around 5,600 drivers have already been involved this year.

According to the latest road casualty statistics, three-fifths (60%) of all car collisions occur at junctions.

The AA is calling on “a more visible police presence” as a way of deterring poor driving practices and  to make sure “we drive responsibly”

No surprises

 ‘It is not a shock that tailgating comes top of the list of behaviours worsening on our roads,” admits Tim Rankin, managing director of AA Accident Assist.

‘Indeed, we know there is a strong chance that a rear-end collision can turn into a ‘concertina collision’ where numerous vehicles are damaged.

‘Creating at least a two-second gap can help prevent crashes but could also reduce outbursts of road rage.’

More traffic officers would help, says Rankin.

Too many drivers believe they can get away with specific activities, such as using a hand-held mobile phone because their chances of being caught are slim.

“As well as making sure we drive responsibly, we also need a more visible police presence to keep those willing to misbehave in check.”