For those who use the road on a daily basis, it is vitally important that drivers are aware of the safeguards and checks which will keep pedestrians and motorists safe. To encourage road safety, we have compiled a list of ten top tips that we feel all drivers should follow, which addresses a combination of personal and environmental hazards.
Even the simplest of precautions can help make a major difference and we are hoping that this list reinforces these provisions for both new and experienced drivers.
1 – Keep on top of vehicle maintenance
Carrying out regular checks on your vehicle is a great way to help eliminate the risk of a breakdown or being involved in an accident. Inspecting your vehicle’s tire pressure and tread, as well as oil and water levels, are quick and easy ways to make sure that what you’re driving is in good condition. This will mean there is a minimal chance of having to make an unwanted, impromptu stop before you reach your destination.
You should regularly check your headlights are working so other drivers are aware of your presence on the roads, and ensuring the fuel tank is filled up more than enough to arrive at your finishing point will not only increase your road safety, but will also help you avoid any unnecessary fines. (It is possible to incur Fixed Penalty Notice if a breakdown, caused by something such as running out of fuel, was easily avoidable.)
2 – Stay off your mobile phone
This is one point that is consistently repeated and undoubtedly you will have heard it before, yet it is still worth reminding. The vast majority of drivers are well aware that taking a phone call or texting while driving can be extremely dangerous. What some might not be quite so aware of is that taking a call using a hands free set-up, using a voice-to-text feature or even changing a song whilst driving will still cause a massive attention diversion, meaning the likelihood of an accident occurring shoots up.
If you have to use your phone at any point during your journey, find somewhere to park so you can do so safely, for your sake and the safety of other road users.
3 – Be aware of young pedestrians
Drivers should be extra vigilant when it comes to young children who may be walking beside a road. Some children are not fully aware of the dangers of the road yet and tend to act more unpredictably than older pedestrians. Bearing this in mind, additional attention should be given when passing by an area close to a school where the number of children is likely to increase considerably.
4 – Stick to the speed limits
We’ve all been in a position where the traffic has been a nightmare and we’re running late, but while the temptation to exceed the speed limit is there, you must always refrain from doing so.
According to the National Safety Council, speeding was the cause of “26% of all traffic fatalities in 2019, killing 9,478, or an average of over 25 people per day.” These statistics should not be ignored. Whether due to a lapse in concentration or intentionally driving too fast, speeding is never the correct option – it’s always better to arrive safely than on time.
5 – Pay attention to the weather
The weather can have a huge effect on the roads. Roads that are wet, icy or have been snowed on can cause a car’s tires to lose traction, which is another reason why checking tire tread is essential. Drivers should allow for a longer braking distance and should be more aware of other cars on the road, as mistakes are more commonly made in adverse weather conditions.
If you think the weather has made the roads dangerous and you feel the journey will be unnecessarily precarious, you should avoid making the trip. Only drive if absolutely essential.
6 – Make sure everyone in the vehicle is using seat belts
Seat belts are essential in ensuring the safety of the driver and the passengers. It is without doubt that wearing a seat belt can save lives in the event of an accident.
Seat belts are designed to keep people in their seats, preventing them from crashing into the interior of the car or the other passengers, decreasing risk of a major injury. Using a seat belt is an incredibly easy way to keep everyone in the car as safe as possible.
7 – Respect other road users
Being aware of other drivers’ actions can be a great way to keep safe on the road. This is a skill that will be improved the more time you spend behind the wheel, but new drivers can definitely still get a good read of other drivers.
Taking notice of other vehicles entering your lane, double checking blind spots or even giving other notably erratic drivers a wide berth are all handy ways to maximise your road safety.
8 – Pull over if you are tired
According to The AA: “One in five accidents on major roads are caused by tiredness.” With statistics as damning as that, it is safe to say that being tired behind the wheel can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If an attempt to re-energise by drinking coffee doesn’t work, you should pull over as soon as you find a safe place to do so. Even taking a nap for 15-20 minutes will improve your road safety as your coordination and reaction times will benefit from being rested.
9 – Plan your route in advance
Taking a few minutes to scout out an unfamiliar route before setting off can save you a lot of stress on the road. Having to deal with the uncertainty of new road layouts or being on high alert that you might miss an exit can be needlessly distracting, as you are more likely to take your eyes off the road to check your phone or a map.
In a similar vein to the majority of points on this list, planning a route in advance is something that takes minimal time to carry out, but will go a long way in enhancing your road safety.
10 – Take extra care when driving at night
Driving at night time can present a whole host of new dangers and hazards. Pedestrians and animals are not as visible, road markings are not as clear and the glare from other vehicles’ headlights can be dazzling.
If you are required to drive during night time, the points listed above are made even more vital. Double checking that your lights work, planning your route ahead of time, being extra vigilant of pedestrians and other users, and being conscious of weather and road conditions should all be heightened when driving after the sun goes down.
Contact Flagship Partners
At Flagship Partners we care about road safety. We have been offering transport compliance services for many years and have the skills and experience needed to ensure your transport business operates within the law.
We also off a broad range of health and safety, business and social-care courses at our Peterborough training centre. For more information about any of our services or courses, please give us a call on 01733 396 169 or get in contact using our online contact form.