According to the Department for Transport’s road casualties report, there were 160,378 casualties of all severities reported due to road traffic accidents in 2018, with 25,484 serious injuries and 1,782 fatalities.
Safety behind the wheel is of paramount importance to reduce the number of accidents on the road across the UK. If you want to ensure you drive safely at all times, check out our top tips below.
Stay alert and aware of other road users
It’s just as important to stay alert to the behaviours of other road drivers, as it is making sure you’re driving responsibly. This means keeping your eyes on the road at all times, not only directly in front of you, but behind and to the sides of the car using your mirrors. This will ensure you have visibility of other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians – allowing you to spot potential hazards in adequate time and respond appropriately.
Always stick to the speed limit
To drive safely, you must always stick to the speed limit. The government campaign THINK!, designed to encourage safe driving habits, states that “speed is one of the main factors in fatal road accidents” and “a few miles per hour can mean the difference between life and death”. Driving too fast means you have less control of your vehicle and significantly reduces your stoppage time should a hazard appear in front of you. That’s why sticking to the speed limit is of vital importance.
Minimise potential distractions
It’s also essential to minimise potential distractions when you’re behind the wheel. Breaking concentration means you may not spot hazards and stray from your lane, making accidents more likely. In our modern world, there are many things that can distract us when driving, such as changing the radio, using a satnav or speaking with a passenger. To operate your car safely, you must always keep your eyes on the road and never use a mobile phone or other device. You can only take a phone call when driving using a hands-free system.
Allow safe stopping distance
Allowing yourself adequate time to respond to unexpected hazards is vital for keeping you, your passengers and other road users safe. Brake the road safety charity, say that “the faster you drive, the longer your stopping distance, and therefore the less chance you have of stopping in time in an emergency”. Both keeping to the speed limit and maintaining a safe distance between your vehicle and the car in front is essential for drivers to see and react in time to avoid an accident.
If you are in a car accident, there are certain things to do immediately after the accident. The RAC have a handy guide to inform people on the steps to take if they suffer the unexpected – including stopping afterwards, exchanging motoring information with those involved, and getting in touch with insurers. It’s also worth noting that drivers and passengers may be able to claim compensation if they are injured in an accident that wasn’t their fault.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to stay safe on the road and reduce the likelihood of experiencing an accident.