RMG Driver/Road Safety – “Driving At A Safe Distance” Campaign” (RMG SHE Huddle/Briefing FY22 043): “Only A Fool Breaks The Two-Second Rule”
The Royal Mail Group Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Team are launching a ‘Driving at a safe distance” driver and road safety communications campaign and staff briefing during this week, week commencing 1 August with the issue of RMG SHE Huddle/Briefing FY22 043 (copy attached). A Campaign slide/screen shot will also go out on the RMG Plasma screens, RMTV and on the RMG Intranet (copy attached).
Overview Message – The two-second rule:
The two-second rule is a ‘rule of thumb’ by which a driver can maintain a safe travelling distance at any speed. The rule is that a driver should ideally stay at least two seconds behind any vehicle that is directly in front of his or her vehicle. To use the rule, drivers should allow the vehicle in front to pass a fixed object such as a bridge, lamp post or road sign then count to two seconds. If the driver reaches the fixed object before counting to two seconds then they are too close and they need to drop back. REMEMBER – Only A Fool Breaks The 2-Second Rule.
The Highway Code:
The Highway Code requires that drivers should:
- Leave enough space between their vehicle and the vehicle in front so that they are able to stop safely if the vehicle in front suddenly stops, and never get closer than the overall stopping distance.
- Allow a two-second gap between their vehicle and the vehicle in front, and this should be at least doubled to four-seconds on wet roads and up to ten times greater to twenty-seconds on icy roads and in poor visibility.
- Remember, large vehicles and motorcycles need a greater distance to stop.
- The gap should be wider as speeds increase.
Benefits of Driving at a Safe Distance:
The obvious benefit is that by driving at a safe distance your vehicle won’t hit the rear of the vehicle in front if it should stop suddenly, but there are other benefits too:
- There will be a better, safer view of the road ahead and the driver keeping a safe distance will be better able to assess the situation ahead – driving too close means that the view is blocked by the vehicle in front.
- Having more time to react means being be able to drive more safely and smoothly, reducing how often and how harshly braking is required – which in turn reduces the risk of a collision with vehicles ahead or from behind and additionally it improves both all-round safety and fuel efficiency.
Most Common Cause of Road Traffic Collisions and Injuries:
The National Highways Agency and Police report that driving to close and rear end collisions is the most common cause of injuries from road traffic accidents. Being in a vehicle that is hit in the rear by another vehicle is the most likely way that a driver and passengers will be injured or killed in a collision, and any action that drivers can take to avoid this is always worthwhile.
Royal Mail and Parcelforce Drivers and Vehicles Involved in Rear End RTCs:
Last year Royal Mail Group (Royal Mail and Parcelforce) drivers were involved in 140 rear end collisions with other vehicles which led to other drivers and members of the public being injured, some seriously injured. These injuries typically occurred because Royal Mail and Parcelforce drivers were found to be driving too fast and/or too close to the vehicle in front at the time of the collision.
Driving too close to another vehicle can lead to prosecution for ‘driving without due care and attention’. This offence carries a minimum fine of £100 and three penalty points, and in some cases more severe penalties and a court appearance.
What is a Safe Distance?
The Highway Code contains ‘Typical Stopping Distances’ as a guide to the minimum distance drivers should leave whilst driving:
- Travelling at 30mph a driver should leave a minimum of 6 car lengths.
- Bear in mind though that these figures can vary depending on the condition of the vehicle (tyres/brakes), the attention of the driver, the road surface and weather conditions. (See attached SHE Huddle – Stopping Distances chart and highway code).
National Highways Agency Two-Second Rule Campaign and ‘Tailgating’ Cameras Trial:
In February, National Highways launched a campaign to tackle the issue of driving too close and tailgating which is a factor in around one in eight crashes on England’s motorways and major ‘A roads’. When launching the campaign National Highways stated that “In many cases it’s unintentional bad driving by drivers who don’t realise that they are infringing on another drivers space but not leaving enough space between you and the vehicle in front is not only very frightening for that driver, it could have devastating consequences in the event of a collision. The closer you get, the less time you have to react and to stop safely. So to avoid inadvertently getting too close to the vehicle in front.”
Prior to launching their campaign earlier this year, in 2021 the Agency ran a trial of new ‘tailgating cameras’ on a stretch of the M1 which captured 60,343 incidents of drivers, driving their vehicles too close to the vehicle in front, in just one year. 10,994 were repeat offenders. In launching their two-second rule campaign jointly with Northamptonshire Police, National Highways advised drivers as follows; “We would urge drivers to use the two-second rule and to always ‘stay safe, stay back.”
“BRAKE” Road Safety Charity Supports the 2-Second Rule:
Brake, the road safety charity, said: “It’s vital that drivers leave enough distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front in order to react in time to any sudden dangers. We’d urge everyone to respect the two-second rule to keep them, and others on the road, safe.”
Institute of Vehicle Recovery Supports the 2-Second Rule:
The IVR said: “We fully support the ‘2 second rule’ campaign, which highlights the importance of keeping your distance whilst driving. These precautions can only make the road network safer.”
“RoSPA Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents Supports the 2-Second Rule:
RoSPA added: “Keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front will also help to reduce a driver’s stress levels when behind the wheel. Use the 2-Second Rule: leave at least a two-second gap between you and the vehicle in front. Double this distance on wet roads and increase it even further on icy roads.
2-Second Rule – Short Video
An short but informative video can be watched on ‘youtube’ at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE9MtjSohqY
- Managers and PiCs to brief all drivers – delivering the SHE Huddle/Briefing FY22 043, raising awareness of the 2-second rule and avoiding driving too close.
- Drivers to remember the phrase “Only A Fool Breaks The Two-Second Rule.
The Aims and Benefits of the Campaign are:
To increase awareness amongst drivers and managers, improve driving standards, road safety and Highway Code compliance. The SHE Huddle/Briefing FY22 043 gives advice to help avoid RTC incidents and keep Royal Mail and Pacelforce drivers and other road users safe
This campaign is supported by the CWU HQ Health, Safety & Environment Department. CWU ASR/WSR full support and participation is much appreciated by Royal Mail, Parcelforce Worldwide, RMSS, RMP&FS and CWU HQ. ASRs/WSRs should ensure that the briefing is delivered to drivers and ensure drivers are aware of the 2-second rule and the Highway Code rules.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer