Learning how to drive is one thing, but making sure you’re doing it safely is another. Whether you’re new to driving or have been driving for a long time, it’s easy to pick up bad habits or become a little bit lazy. However, this can be very dangerous. Even little things that you think won’t make a difference, could determine the safety of you and other drivers on the road. Accidents can always happen, but there are certainly things you can do in order to minimise the risk of them, and we wanted to talk about some of the ways you can make sure you’re driving more safely in this blog.
In the event of any kind of accident or collision, or even harsh braking, your seatbelt is there to keep you safe, and in extreme circumstances, it can save your life. Not only that, it is a law to wear your seatbelt whilst driving and also ensure that your passengers are if they are aged 14 or under it is your responsibility to make sure they have a seatbelt on, otherwise it is against the law. Even if you’re not driving very far and think it doesn’t matter, you need to wear it!
Under no circumstances should you ever use your mobile phone whilst driving. In fact, you should actually place it somewhere far away for you, or in a bag, or just somewhere that you can’t access it nor are tempted to check any messages or pick it up. One of the biggest causes of road traffic accidents comes from people carelessly driving whilst on their mobile phone, meaning their attention is elsewhere and they are distracted. If you do this, it’s not just yourself you’re putting in anger, it’s everybody else on the road, too. The UK law now states that you can’t even touch your mobile phone whilst driving, and you certainly can’t use it to take a call or type a message. The result of doing this means that you receive 6 points and have your driving license taken off you or revoked, meaning you have to take both your theory and practical tests again if you are a new driver.
No tailgating! This means driving right up close behind the car in front of you. This is dangerous as it may not allow you enough time to stop should you need to. You can measure the correct distance between you and the car in front through things like lampposts at the side of the road. Count the time it takes between the rear of the vehicle in front passing the lamppost and how long it takes for the front of your vehicle to pass it. If it’s less than three seconds, there’s not enough space between you!
People can often be tempted to get behind the wheel when they’ve only had one or two alcoholic drinks, as they don’t think this has had any effect on them. However, this would be wrong. Driving under the influence no matter how much you have consumed is extremely dangerous and is another one of the top causes of road traffic accidents. If you know you need to drive somewhere, you must avoid drinking alcohol completely. Alternatively if you have a drink, or are planning on consuming alcohol, you should arrange another way of traveling.
This is extremely important, as your driving should alter with the weather. You must follow the correct procedures in poor weather conditions. For example if it’s rainy, your stopping distance should double, and if it’s snowy or icy, it should increase by ten times. Furthermore, the speed limit should only be followed if it is safe to do so. So, if you’re driving in a 60 zone, but your vision is affected by fog, or the roads are slippery, this wouldn’t be a safe speed to travel at and you should alter your speed to allow you to drive more safely.
Although this may seem like quite a minor thing, not doing it can have big consequences. You must always signal, and always signal correctly. The reason we have indicators, is to inform other drivers of what we are doing and the actions we are about to take. Without using your signals, nobody knows what you are going to do, and so this becomes dangerous and creates a hazard. If you turn somewhere or switch lanes without indicating, this doesn’t allow the other drivers enough time to see what you are doing and so puts you at risk of causing an accident
The blindspot is the area that you can’t see through your mirrors. Even when you’ve checked all of your mirrors before moving out of somewhere, it is imperative that you check your blindspot too. Sometimes there may be other vehicles at the side of you that you are unaware of, and for example if you are switching lanes and don’t check, this could result in a collision.