The main causes of rear-end collisions include drivers following the vehicle in front too closely and inattentiveness. In other words, DRIVER ERROR!
Drivers are most commonly rear-ended at slow speeds – usually at junctions/ intersections, roundabouts and traffic lights. Rear-end shunts also frequently occur in heavy traffic when vehicles are crawling along or when they slow down suddenly.
Ten tips for avoiding rear-end collisions
- Check your mirror frequently, as part of a wider “scanning” routine.
- Drive at a safe speed. The faster you drive the more likely you are to have to brake suddenly.
- Look well ahead. By looking ahead you can brake well in advance of a hazard and, in turn, provide the road user behind with more time to brake.
- Brake smoothly and steadily. This gives the road user behind more time to adjust their speed and come to a stop safely.
- Beware of tailgaters. All drivers should follow the three-second rule but we’ve all been the victim of another road user driving too closely behind. If you are being followed too closely you could try changing lanes (if you’re traveling on a motorway/ highway and if it’s safe to do so). If not, pull over when it’s safe to do so and let the other road user pass. Don’t let anyone else bully you into speeding and never hit your brakes to teach another road user “a lesson”.
- Think tires and tarmac. When coming to a stop behind another vehicle make sure you can see the other vehicle’s tires AND tarmac behind.
- Stay in gear when stopped in traffic in case you need to make an emergency escape from a vehicle approaching behind.
- Keep your foot on the brake pedal while stopped to make it more obvious to other road users that they need to stop too.
- Use hazards/ blinkers to alert other drivers if necessary. For example, if traffic slows suddenly because of road works or an incident.
- Have your eyes checked regularly to make sure you can judge space effectively.