Becoming a safer driver is a change that is easy to stick to and can help protect yourself and other drivers from harm.
Tips for starting adopting safer driver habits, whether you're new to the roads or you've been behind the wheel for years, we can all be more conscientious when driving.
Here are our top tips for making your journey safer.
The driving mind-set
When setting out on a journey, make sure you have your route planned and have weighed up how much time you need to give yourself to reach your destination. It’s important to stay focused on the road and not let yourself be distracted by anything along the way.
Ensure your SatNav is set to the right route and volume is at the right level. We love to listen to our favourite tracks while on the road, however if it’s too loud you may miss important signs such as faults with your car, emergency services approaching or simply being caught up with the music you lose concentration on the road.
Mobile phones are now integral parts of our lives, therefore, if you are on a long drive or expecting a phone call, hook your mobile phone up to a hands-free set. However, keep in mind that conversations should be kept to a minimum because talking and spotting hazards is very difficult. See how you do on the Think! driving challenge.
Remember - If you are caught on the phone while driving can result in prosecution and your car insurance costs increasing.
Figures from the Transport Research Laboratory show that the majority of motorists are only focused on the road for 25 per cent of their time in the car. Concentration is key. Make sure you aren't too tired and never drive under the influence of alcohol or other substances. Before you can set off, you must check the condition of your vehicle too.
Maintain your motor
Check your tyres regularly - those that aren't inflated enough increase the chance of a blow-out. Lights and other electrics on your vehicle need checking regularly too. Make sure indicators, main beams, wipers, electric windows and heating systems all work properly. Feed your car as well. Keep it topped up with oil so as not to inflict any damage on the engine. Always keep your windscreen wash full too - in winter you'll need to use an additive to stop it from freezing.
Out and about
Remember to always keep a safe stopping distance of two seconds between your vehicle and the one in front. However, during foggy conditions, at night and when it's raining, you should increase this to four seconds, and to eight seconds during snow and ice. Look out for road markings and other indicators that there might be more hazards around. An increased amount of paint on the road along with more street lights and road signs usually signals that the area is more dangerous than others.
Always drive within the speed limit and stay aware of what other road users - including cyclists - are doing. Over the past few years, the number of cyclists killed on the roads has risen by ten per cent while the volume of cycling traffic has increased by 1.2 per cent. More than 92 per cent of cycling accidents on the roads involve another vehicle.
Make sure other road users are aware of your presence. Try not to drive alongside large vehicles if possible as this could place you in their blind spot. If you can see others in your mirror, they should be able to see you too.
When arriving at your destination, choose your parking space carefully. Avoid parking near other cars and any other obstacles where possible.
Even if we drive with care and consideration, other drivers seem throw caution into the wind and drive recklessly regardless. We tend to see these kinds of people on the roads and find ourselves frustrated with them, possibly retaliating a little bit. It is best to give these drivers a wide berth if they swerve in and out of traffic. Laws are in place to clamp down on drivers who tailgate, hog the middle lane and undertake, however, this is still a common occurrence, therefore it is best to drive at a safe speed and distance around these drivers.
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