A HAMPSHIRE motorway has been named as one of the worst tailgating blackspots in the country.

The westbound stretch of the M27 in Southampton betweens junctions 7 and 5, at Thornill and Southampton Airport respectively, was found to be the fifth worst in England.

Direct Line Car Insurance used traffic flow data from nearly 6,500 sites on the country's motorway network to compile the report.

Only four sections of road were found to be worse than the M27, including the M1 near Leeds, the M42 near Solihull, the M1 at Brent Cross, and the A1M at Leeming, North Yorkshire.

Rob Miles, a director of insurance at Direct Line, said: “All drivers have a responsibility to keep a safe distance between their vehicle and others on the road.

“Tailgating is extremely dangerous and also against the law, regardless of whether it's done intentionally or in ignorance.

“Often people can find themselves too close to other vehicles on motorways as they rush to their destinations or try to keep up with traffic flow.

"We'd urge drivers to keep their stopping distances in mind, as these are often forgotten in times of haste or frustration.”

Mr Miles said that motorists should allow a two-second gap, or 60 metres, between themselves and the car in front.

Police estimate that more than 1,700 injuries, or 15 per cent of all injury collisions, on Highways Agency roads are caused by close following.

This figure includes five fatalities a year, while those under 30 are responsible for 37 per cent of tailgating crashes.

Nationally the cost of these incidents is calculated to be between £79m and £129m a year, with a further national cost of between £4.2m and £12.6m due to congestion caused by tailgating collisions.

Vehicle flow data suggests that for vehicles travelling at between 60 and 69mph, 78 per cent had gaps that were calculated to be less than their stopping distance, and 54 per cent had gaps of less than half their stopping distance.

Statistics showed that 49 per cent of drivers allowed less than the recommended two seconds, with 17 per cent travelling less than one second apart.