Over the course of a week researchers from Avon Tyres monitored the number of vehicles, travelling at an average of 50mph, which failed to leave significantly less than the recommended gap of two seconds in the dry and four seconds in the wet.
The group found most likely to tailgate were those who drive for a living, with four in every five taxis, and 98% of lorries caught without a sufficient gap to the next vehicle. This compared to an average of 50% for passenger vehicles, and a surprisingly considerate figure of just over 1 in 10 for 'white van man'.
The most common time for offenders was during the afternoon rush hour when the rate of tailgating leapt to nearly 60% on average. The figure fell to 32% around mid-day.
"In perfect conditions the average car travelling at 50mph will take the equivalent of 13 car lengths to come safely to a halt. However, unless the tyres are at their optimum the stopping distance dramatically increases in the wet – by as much as 40% if the tread wears down to the legal minimum of 1.6mm," Avon said.