RAA urges drivers to keep their distance

15 August, 2022

More than 5000 motorists have been pulled over by police for tailgating – resulting in $1.32 million worth of fines – during the past two financial years, latest SAPOL figures show.

Last financial year 2501 drivers were caught failing to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front, 1088 receiving a caution and 1413 being fined a total $645,755, according to SAPOL data.

That was almost a repeat of the 1014 cautions and 1557 fines issued for the same offence in 2020/21.

RAA Insurance claims data showed rear-end collisions were the most common among crashes involving more than one driver.

RAA Senior Manager Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said drivers risked more than a fine if they failed to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front.

“Depending on the speed of impact, rear ending a vehicle could have catastrophic consequences for the occupants of all vehicles involved,’’ he said.

“Whether it may be a consequence of driver misjudgement or impatience, rear-end collisions are unfortunately all too common on our roads.

Mr Mountain reminded drivers that braking distances were also significantly increased during wet weather.

“Motorists must keep a greater space between themselves and the vehicle in front when roads are wet because it takes a longer distance to stop,’’ Mountain said.

“RAA road safety calculations show cars travelling at just 50km/h required almost 10 metres more stopping distance in the wet compared to dry conditions.

“And the faster you are travelling the longer it takes to come to a stop in the wet, with potentially dangerous outcomes for all road users.

“For example, if you are driving at 60km/h it will take an extra 13.5 metres to come to a stop in wet compared to dry conditions.

“Travelling at 80km/h, that stopping distance blows out to an extra 24 metres in the wet, and at 100km/h you require an extra 37 metres to come to a halt.’’

Mr Mountain said these extra braking distances reinforced the need for motorists to be mindful that a change in weather conditions poses a potentially fatal risk to road users.

“Also remember to turn on your lights when visibility is reduced due to low cloud and rainy conditions to see and be seen,’’ he said.

“Drivers must also be aware that pedestrians and cyclists can be harder to detect when it’s raining.’’