AA member survey rates tailgating one of most annoying driving habits.

Nothing grinds the gears of motorists quite like tailgating.

The behaviour, which is rated one of the most annoying driving habits in an AA member survey and was a contributing factor in 10 deaths on our roads in 2015, has seen 2141 people ticketed in the last financial year.

Tailgating can attract fines of $150.

Greater Auckland - including the Counties Manukau, Auckland and Waitemata police districts - topped the list with 656 infringements, with the Bay of Plenty and Canterbury coming next with 305 and 273 tickets issued respectively.


Northland had the lowest number of infringements with only 63 recorded.

Tailgating was listed as the second biggest annoyance on the road after red-light running in a 2016 survey. The data dates back to April 2013 and tailgating is consistently one of the top three annoyances.

Drivers in the slow lane speeding up at passing lanes, drivers on cellphones and motorists not indicating also made it into the top five frustrating habits.

AA Driving School general manager Roger Venn wasn't surprised tailgating was rated so highly on the list of driving annoyances.

He said motorists can feel intimidated or threatened by the vehicle behind them. This can force them into unwise manoeuvres like speeding up or concentrating on their rear-vision mirror.

"You don't need to be a genius to know driving very close to the vehicle in front of you is plain dangerous," Venn said.

"It gives you very little time to react and reduces the chance of avoiding the vehicle in front of you. The driver behind is showing a lack of respect and consideration of your safety."

The road code recommends a two second following distance in normal conditions or a four second following distance in bad weather, when towing a trailer or adverse conditions.


This means two or four seconds need to lapse between the car in front of you passing a landmark and when you pass the same landmark.

Venn advised drivers to be patient and slow down.

"If you tailgate it doesn't get you there any quicker, your blood pressure is just higher."

Tailgating isn't just annoying, it's dangerous, he said.

In 2015, which is the most recent data available, there were 10 deaths, 92 serious injuries and 1506 minor injuries from crashes where a vehicle rear-ended someone, the Ministry of Transport's annual report on Motor Vehicle Crashes in NZ stated.

In a bid to cut tailgating Auckland Transport launched a campaign late last year dubbed "Spread the Jam".

The campaign reminded drivers to keep their following distance, not to cut into traffic or rubberneck, and avoid in-car distractions like cellphones.

AT spokesman Andrew Allen said tailgating was one of the four causes of congestion.

"Usually it's drivers cutting-in, following too close to the vehicle in front, rubber-necking or being distracted like using their cellphone," Allen said.

"A heavy dab on the brakes can cause a ripple effect right down the motorway, turning free flowing traffic into a sticky jam."