DRAMATIC new footage has been released by Highways England to highlight why motorists should not drive too closely on the motorway.

A dashcam on a Highways England patrol vehicle on the M6 in Cheshire caught the moment several cars had to brake sharply before a lorry ploughs into the back of the queue.

Highways officials says the video shows just how quickly an incident can happen if motorists don’t leave plenty of space between themselves and the vehicle in front.

Richard Leonard, Highways England’s head of road safety, said: “This footage is a startling reminder about the dangers of driving too closely to the vehicle in front.

“It clearly shows that if you get too close to the car in front, you won’t be able to react and stop in time if they suddenly brake.

“We also know that tailgating makes the driver in front feel targeted and victimised, distracting their attention from the road ahead and making them more likely to make a mistake.

“It is intimidating and frightening if you’re on the receiving end. If that leads to a collision, then people in both vehicles could end up seriously injured or killed. We want everyone to get home safe and well.”

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If you wonder whether you are ‘space invading’, then remember the Highway Code, which says that drivers should allow at least a two second gap, which should be doubled on wet roads.

If you are tailgated, then avoid speeding up, slowing down or staring in the rear-view mirror.

Reduce the risk to yourself by driving normally, signalling clearly and allowing people to overtake.

A survey by Highways England reveals that tailgating is the biggest single bugbear that drivers have about other road users.

Nearly 9 out of 10 people say they have either been tailgated or seen it. And more than a quarter of drivers admitted to tailgating.