In 2012 there were 33,303 reported road collisions on the Highways Agency network, causing lane closures, significant costs and delays for thousands of road users.
With many people driving to the airport and to their holiday destinations in the coming weeks, the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists), the RAC and the Highways Agency are advising on how not to become one of the unlucky ones who sacrifices time on the beach for time broken down.
- All drivers are looking to get to their destination without delay – but following too close to other vehicles on the motorway is not the way to speed up your arrival. In fact, tailgating is far more likely to lead to a collision. Always try to maintain a two second gap between yourself and the vehicle in front of you.
- If you are being tailgated, there are steps you can take to help prevent their bad behaviour becoming your burden: try not to react by accelerating, braking or swerving suddenly - this will reduce your car control and probably annoy the other driver. Remain calm and check your mirrors frequently to monitor the situation around you.
- When driving on the motorway in the UK, you should consider the left hand lane your 'base'. There are no set speeds for each lane, so on an empty motorway, you should always drive on the left, using the other lanes for overtaking slower vehicles. Many motorists stick to the middle-ground of lane two to minimise their lane changes, but this is not best practice and could irritate other drivers,.
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: "More than 33,000 people crashed on England's motorways and major "A" roads in 2012 – the equivalent of the entire population of West Somerset."
"A collision or breakdown on the way to the airport is a sure fire way to get your summer holiday off to a bad start. Just a few steps and precautions will ensure you're digging out your swimsuits sooner rather than later."
Steve Crosthwaite, head of the Highways Agency's National Traffic Operations Centre said:
"Crashes and the delays they cause lead to even greater frustration when the roads are already busy with holiday traffic."
"If the journey to the airport, ferry or beach is a miserable one it can really shatter the holiday mood. We encourage people to spend a little time before they set off checking the traffic and weather conditions so they are prepared and allow adequate time for their journey, including breaks."
"And if there is an incident on our network we will be doing all we can to inform road users and to get everyone safely on their way again."
RAC technical director David Bizley said: "We know from the RAC Report on Motoring 2013 that the biggest 'stress points' for motorists relate to the behaviour of other drivers. Seventy-four per cent of drivers we surveyed said they get stressed or angry because of people who drive too closely to them and 59 per cent get annoyed by drivers who don't pull over from the outside lane of the motorway to let other vehicles go by. These are two bad driving habits that we could well do without."