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Avoid causing traffic jams

A motorway tailback, particularly one you can’t see an end to, is infuriating. And it’s even more annoying to discover there’s no apparent reason for it. That is of course not the case – there’s always a reason. And, believe it or not, you may have contributed to a tailback or two in the past.

Watch out for the ‘domino effect’ caused by brake tapping. This happens when drivers travel too close together or react before reading the road ahead. The result is that one person touches their brakes, then someone behind who may not be watching any further ahead than the bumper in front touches theirs. Every driver in the queue has to use their brakes a little more than the car in front, which in a long line of cars driving close together means that eventually a car will have to stop. This is a common phenomenon.

To most drivers the solution is obvious: back away from the car in front. Sometimes it’s not that simple. The most important thing is to keep paying attention. People often find themselves driving in the wrong lane or drifting down to 50-60mph because their mind isn’t on the job. Always signal what you’re doing, and anticipate ahead of yourself. If you see that ‘oh no, there’s going to be a snarl up’ further up the road, you’ve got more time to deal with it if you’re looking well ahead.