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Road safety and breakdown cover specialist GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging drivers to focus on two key aspects of motorway driving: leaving a sufficient... Drivers urged to help make motorways safer

Road safety and breakdown cover specialist GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging drivers to focus on two key aspects of motorway driving: leaving a sufficient gap from the vehicle in front and understanding the danger signs of fatigue while on a motorway journey.

GEM chief executive Neil Worth said: “A serious risk occurs when there is not enough time and space between vehicles travelling at high speed. Imagine a sudden hazard ahead of you on the motorway. According to the Highway Code, if you’re driving at 70mph you will need a minimum of 96m to come to a stop.

“We recommend that all drivers familiarise themselves with the two-second rule. It’s time-based, not distance-based, so it’s effective at any legal motorway speed.

“Try it out on your next motorway journey! You should note as the vehicle in front passes a fixed point, such as a sign, bridge or lamp-post. Then you say ‘Only a fool breaks the two-second rule.’ If you are still speaking when you pass the same fixed point, then you are following too close.”

Take regular breaks
Mr Worth went to explain that a fatigue-related crash was around 50% more likely to result in death or serious injury, simply because a driver who has fallen asleep at the wheel would be unable to reduce speed or change direction to avoid a collision.

“Falling asleep at the wheel is easily avoided, but it’s vital you heed the many warning signs your body will give you before you actually nod off,” he said. “After all, no one simply falls asleep without passing through various recognisable stages of tiredness and distraction.

“Don’t ever get that tired when driving. On long journeys, take a break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours or 100 miles. Get out of the car, do some exercise, stretch or walk. If necessary, have a caffeine drink or two to boost your alertness.

“You will know when fatigue is affecting you. It doesn’t just take you by surprise. So resist the urge to press on, and take a proper break.”