The Ultimate Guide to Driving Safely & Avoiding Distractions
There are now more cars on British roads than ever before. As such, the risk of accidents has increased and there are thousands of casualties and fatalities on a yearly basis. Throughout this guide we’ll take a look at how you can improve your driving to be safer on the roads, whilst analysing some of the reasons why you’ll be most at risk.
First though, some statistics for you to think about:
In total, around 95% of all road accidents can be blamed in part to human error.
However, 75% of these can be wholly blamed on human errors.
The majority of these accidents could have been prevented with care and common sense applied.
Most accidents happen in daylight and during rush hours – 7-9am and 3-6pm.
HOW TO CORRECTLY MAINTAIN YOUR CAR
Although human error is largely to blame for road accidents, motor malfunctions can also be an issue. Therefore, to keep both yourself and other drivers safe on the road, it’s important to follow the right practices for maintaining your car and keeping it in a good condition.
CHECKING YOUR TYRES
You’ll probably have seen motorists pulled up on the side of the motorway with their hazard lights flashing. Mechanical faults can be responsible, however, punctured tyres are often the cause. Therefore, to ensure you’re not the next motorist to be caught out, there are two things to be aware of; tread depth and air pressure.
For the pressure, you should be checking every two weeks and topping up the tyres if need be. It’s not difficult to do so and most petrol stations have air you’ll be able to use, for the small price of 20p or so. Your car manual should state the optimum air pressure of your tyres, so make sure to adhere to this. Also, be aware of too much air seeping from the tyre – it could be the sign of a slow puncture and as such, you’ll need this replaced.
The tread depth should also be checked regularly. By law, tyre tread should be a minimum of 1.66mm. Tyres usually have markers, so you’ll be able to see if they’re worn to this level. If your tyres don’t meet the legal standards, you’ll need to replace them. It’s important to know how to change a tyre yourself, if in the event you’re out on the road and a problem occurs.
CHECKING YOUR LEVELS
Under the bonnet you’ll have a number of checks to make. This will ensure your vehicle is ready for the roads, whilst improving the economy of the car and preventing long term damage.
For starters, there’s the engine oil. Use the dipstick to assess how much engine oil is in the motor and if required, top up until hitting the recommended mark. Remember to leave a couple of minutes between topping up and checking the level again. Your oil filters will also be changed on a regular occasion, usually during a service. On the subject of oil, if you ever find you’re topping up the level on a regular occasion, it could be because of a leak or the engine burning oil. You’ll need to get this checked out by a professional.
The coolant is another level to check and ideally you’ll do this when the engine is cold. Coolant is responsible for ensuring the engine doesn’t overheat and in the winter, you’ll want to use a little antifreeze too (for obvious reasons).
You should also keep an eye on the screen wash. Did you know it’s a legal requirement to have screen wash topped up? Without it, your vision could become impaired and there’s the greater risk of missing an upcoming hazard.
THE WINDSCREEN AND WIPER BLADES
Your windscreen both protects and helps you clearly see what’s coming up ahead. Therefore, any cracks or obstructions will compromise your ability to drive safely. Any stones or debris hitting the windscreen have the potential to cause damage and you should have repairs carried out quickly, to ensure the crack doesn’t worsen and you end up needing to replace the full screen.
It’s also important to consider your wiper blades and have these replaced on a yearly basis. If they’re worn, they won’t be able to clear water and dirt effectively.
WHAT PRE-DRIVE CHECKS SHOULD YOU CARRY OUT?
Although human error is largely to blame for road accidents, motor malfunctions can also be an issue. Therefore, to keep both yourself and other drivers safe on the road, it’s important to follow the right practices for maintaining your car and keeping it in a good condition.
1. HAVE A LOOK AROUND THE CAR
Before heading for the driver’s side, it’s advised to first circle the car and check for hazards. For example, children could be using your vehicle to hide form their friends.
2. POSITION YOUR SEAT
As a driver, you’ll want to ensure being comfortable in the vehicle. The seat should be positioned so you’ve easy access to the controls and aren’t overstretching to press the clutch fully down.
3. REPOSITION THE MIRRORS
If you do adjust the seat, you’ll need to make sure the mirrors are altered too. Check both side mirrors and the rear view mirror, so you can see in all directions. Remember, you won’t be able to cover the blind spot with your mirrors, so check this when carrying out manoeuvres.
4. ADJUST THE HEADREST
Contrary to popular belief, the headrest isn’t a comfort accessory. Instead, it’s there to protect you from whiplash in the event of harsh braking or a collision. Ensure the rest is set to be squarely behind your head when driving. This should be the same for all passengers too.
5. CHANGE THE STEERING WHEEL POSITION
To be honest, moving the steering wheel won’t be something you have to do often and many motorists don’t even realise it’s possible to alter it anyway. For both comfort and safety, ensure the steering wheel is well positioned to your seating position.
6. BUCKLE YOUR BELT
The seatbelt is one of the most important safety features in any vehicle and with one applied, you’ll be better protected in the event of braking or a collision. For even the shortest of journeys you should ensure your belt is always clipped in.
TOP TIPS FOR DRIVING SAFELY WHEN ON THE ROAD
By now you’ll know how to maintain your vehicle and what pre-checks to carry out before venturing onto the roads. But when all is said and done, are you driving in a safe manner?
Take a look at these great tips for driving and ensure your next journey is a little safer.
• BE ATTENTIVE
The key to driving is to ensure you’re always alert and attentive to what’s going on around you. As such, distractions can hamper your ability on the road. If an incident occurs ahead and you’re too busy changing the radio station, you might not be able to avoid a collision. Therefore, you need to make sure every second on the road is spent being fully attentive.
• BE MINDFUL OF EVERYTHING
Some motorists have tunnel vision, only watching what’s going on directly in front of them. This isn’t ideal though, because hazards can be present everywhere. Make sure to pay attention to the whole road and be better prepared to avoid hazards when driving.
• REMEMBER THE TWO SECOND GAP
When driving, particularly on motorways and at high speeds, ensure to leave a lengthy gap between you and the car in front. This should be around two seconds (or two chevrons if they’re painted onto the road). In wet or icy conditions, you’ll need to leave a longer distance.
• KEEP THE SPEED DOWN
Speed limits are in place for a reason and need to be kept. By speeding around you’re putting yourself and other road users at risk. In poor weather, you should take even more care to keep the speed down.
• CHECK BLIND SPOTS
Your mirrors should be able to help you see what’s going on around, but they don’t cover everything. There will be a blind spot and when performing manoeuvres such as changing lanes, you’ll need to check these each and every time.
• DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE
This tip is obvious and of course, drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs is highly illegal. Why? Because alcohol slows down your reactions and puts you at a greater risk of collision.
• PLAN YOUR ROUTE
Before travelling to somewhere you’re unfamiliar with, make sure to check the route and know exactly where you’ll be driving. This will prevent you getting lost on the road and panicking behind the wheel.
• DRIVE CAREFULLY AT NIGHT
Again, in night conditions you should consider your driving and take to the roads in a more careful manner. Reduce your speed, especially in areas you’re unfamiliar with. You should also be aware of oncoming headlights and avoid being dazzled by glancing to one side (using the road markings to keep a straight path if need be).
• LEARN TO BE PATIENT
Car collisions are commonplace on country roads – with many incidents down to the impatience of motorists. Only overtake other vehicles when you can see clearly ahead and it’s safe to do so, whilst slowing down accordingly at bends in the road.
Distracted driving is one of the major killers on the road, because a moment’s glance away from the road ahead can be catastrophic. And a distraction is anything that diverts your attention.
There’s a lengthy list of things that’ll distract you when out and about on the roads, with the main distractions being the following:
- Using a mobile phone or smartphone. This would include texting, calling, browsing the Internet or accessing social media.
- Drinking or eating.
- Turning to other passengers.
- Applying makeup or brushing your hair.
- Using a sat nav.
- Changing the radio station or using a CD player.
DISTRACTED DRIVING STATISTICS
Traffic accidents contribute to a significant number of personal compensation claims. Drink related accidents take up a fair chunk of these, but distracted driving is also responsible for its fair share.
Plus, distracted driving isn’t rare. As many as 72% of drivers have admitted to multitasking whilst driving and as such are putting themselves and their passengers at risk. There are three forms of distracted driving:
These distractions will lead to the driver’s eyes being taken from the road
Manual distractions cause the driver to take one or both hands from the wheel
Similar to visual, but will lead to the driver’s attention being drawn away
There are plenty of ways you could be distracted too, so take a look at some of the common distractions and the statistics below.
EATING & DRINKING
Many drivers will eat or drink behind the wheel (35% in fact), and many will be surprised that this is the most common cause for distracted driving. There’s every chance you’ve had breakfast or lunch when on the move and this is putting you at risk.
TUNING THE RADIO
The radio is a staple fixture in every vehicle, but also a primary cause for distracted driving. Whether it’s finding your favourite radio station, putting in a new CD or skipping songs, your eyes will be off the road. 63% of drivers admit to fiddling with the car’s radio, air con or entertainment system when driving – which in itself is a severe distraction from the road.
USING A MOBILE PHONE
It’s little surprise to find mobile phones on the list and of course, thanks to tech such as hands-free kits, this has thankfully decreased in volume. However, mobile phone use at the wheel is still prevalent and 31% of motorists say they’ve spoken without a hands-free kit – whilst 30% say they’ve texted when driving. If you’re texting at the wheel, your risk of crashing increases 23 times. For those dialling, risks rise 12 times. In Exchange and Mart’s own survey, only 9% of people admitted to using a mobile phone when driving.
Those you’re travelling with are also a distraction to your driving, whether it’s a friend or family member to the left or a screaming child in the back. Most parents surveyed say they’ve taken their eyes off the road ahead to comfort a crying child. Up to 40% of drivers admitted to being distracted by other passengers in the car.
If you’re running late, you may be tempted to apply your makeup whilst driving. However, from mascara and eyeliner to lipstick and blusher, you’ll be putting yourself and other motorists at risk. 5% of drivers say they’ve applied cosmetics when driving.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways you could be distracted when at the wheel. Distracted driving results in many accidents and deaths on a yearly basis and is the leading cause of death for 16-19-year-olds. Pedestrians are becoming more at risk from distracted drivers too and deaths have increased 19% since 2009.
TIPS TO HELP YOU AVOID DISTRACTED DRIVING
Distracted driving is difficult to avoid, especially when you consider long commutes, the mind wandering or your attention being diverted for even a split second. Plus, you’re also at risk from other distracted drivers on the road – whether it’s someone using a mobile phone, grooming, changing their music or trying to calm a distressed child.
However, in order to ensure you’re not a hazard on the road, take a look at the following tips to reduce the risk of distracted driving.
MOBILE PHONES ARE FOR EMERGENCIES:
Driving whilst using your smartphone shouldn’t be commonplace. Instead, mobile phones should only be used in the most extreme of situations, not to let your friends know you’re running 10 minutes late. Even in emergencies, it’s much safer to pull over before using the phone. Hands-free sets aren’t 100% safe either and although they’re considerably better than dialling with your device, you’ll still miss vital warning signs to prevent an accident.
TAKE A BREAK IF YOU’RE TIRED:
Being at the wheel whilst tired is a recipe for disaster. Your response times slowdown as a result of the drowsiness, so your chances of crashing increase four times. Make sure to stop at the service station to recuperate, grab a coffee and ready yourself for the next stage of your journey.
ENCOURAGE YOUR FRIENDS TO HELP:
For long journeys in particular, cars aren’t exactly the best place to be. There’s little to do for your passengers and as such, they can easily become distractive to you. Try to encourage them to keep their antics away when you’re driving though, as this will reduce the odds of an accident.
HAVE YOUR BREAKFAST AT HOME:
The car is not the place to be eating. It’s incredibly distracting to be unwrapping food whilst driving and your eyes will be diverted from the road. Make sure to eat before leaving, giving yourself extra time if need be. Spilling your food or drink is also a massive distraction.
FOCUS SOLELY ON DRIVING:
If you’ve a few hours to kill behind the wheel it can very well be tempting to get a couple of things done along the way. But this time should instead be used for one thing and one thing only – driving safely. The moment you set off you should be fixed on the road and potential hazards ahead. Set your music playlist before travelling, have your sat nat directions ready and ensure your makeup has already been applied. Multitasking at the wheel is not an option.
GIVE YOURSELF TIME:
Whenever you’re at the wheel you shouldn’t be rushing around. This can lead to you making mistakes and putting yourself and your passengers in greater danger. Research shows that teenagers are more at risk because they have less experience, but this tip should apply to all motorists.
We’ve discussed the various distractions when driving in some detail above, but in this section we’ll dig a little deeper. Principally, we’ll take a look at using a mobile phone behind the wheel, whilst counting down the top 10 distractions in order of danger, whilst analysing some of the technology aimed at preventing distracted driving.
USING A MOBILE PHONE BEHIND THE WHEEL
Mobile phones are without doubt the most dangerous distraction behind the wheel, especially when the driver’s eyes are taken from the road for long periods – such as texting, browsing the web or checking social media. Even hands-free technology isn’t fool proof and research indicates mobile users are slower at recognising hazards and reacting accordingly. Even receiving a call or text can be distracting – a split second away from the road could lead to a fatal collision.
WHAT IS THE LAW OF MOBILE PHONES?
Simply put, it is illegal to use a mobile phone when driving. This is the same for whatever you want to do on your phone. The rules couldn’t be plainer. And this same law applies when you’re stopped in traffic or waiting at a red light – if the engine’s on, your mobile phone is banned.
There is an exception to this though – If you want to call 999 or 112. Even so, you’ll still be in breach of the law unless it wasn’t safe or is impractical to stop.
So, what is the penalty for mobile phone use?
If you’re caught using your phone, you’ll receive:
- Three points on your driving license
- A £100 fine
- Potentially higher insurance premiums in the future
It’s worth noting, that if you receive six points within the first two years of passing your test, you’ll lose the license.
IS HANDS-FREE ILLEGAL?
Hands-free is perfectly legal for all motorists, however, you could still be charged if police officers don’t think you’re in full control of the vehicle at the time. This would fall under the law of careless driving and could lead to a large fine, disqualification and up to two years’ imprisonment.
IS IT ILLEGAL TO USE A MOBILE PHONE IN TRAFFIC?
When the engine is on, it’s illegal to use a mobile phone. So, even if you’re moving in very slow traffic a phone wouldn’t be legal. If you were in a lengthy stoppage on a motorway though and the engine was switched off, you may use your phone.
Smoking still hasn’t been banned when driving, although you won’t be able to legally smoke if there are minors present. Around 1% of distracted driving accidents are down to someone lighting, smoking or putting out their cigarette.
9. INSECTS AND BUGS
You probably wouldn’t list this in your top 10, but it figures because around 1% of distracted driving accidents can be put down to these. Whether it’s a wasp, spider or dragonfly, they could lead to you taking your eyes from the road. Plus, sources suggest bugs and insects are an underreported cause of distraction – so more accidents could be as a result of them.
8. ALTERING CAR SAFETY EQUIPMENT
Again, 1% of distracted driving can be attributed to this and includes setting mirrors and adjusting a seatbelt on the road.
7. ADJUSTING CONTROLS
Do you set your radio or use climate control on the move? This is another culprit for distracted driving accidents, contributing to 2%.
6. EATING & DRINKING
Cars are fitted with cup holders, so how can drinking be such a distraction? Because anything that takes your attention can be deadly. Eating and drinking is responsible for a further 2% of distracted driving collisions.
5. USING AN EXTERNAL DEVICE
How often do you use a sat nav or hands-free equipment? It’s legal to do so, but research shows 2% of accidents are the result of these.
4. CAR PASSENGERS
You’ll likely travel with others on a regular occasion and whoever it is, they’ll be a distraction. Passengers are responsible for 5% of distracted driving accidents.
3. OUTSIDE EVENT
It’s not just the things in your car that’ll cause an accident. 7% of distracted driving collisions are from the motorists looking at something outside, such as an advertisement or accident on the other side of the road
2. MOBILE PHONES
It’s no surprise to find mobile phones so high up on the list and they’re responsible for 12% of distracted driving accidents on the road. It’s illegal to use your phone in any capacity when driving.
1. GENERAL DISTRACTIONS
Number one of top distracted driving causes? The distracted driver. That’s right, 62% of accidents are because the driver lost concentration and allowed their mind to wander. The solution? Take regular breaks and ensure you’re not driving when tired.
All 10 of these distractions have one thing in common – complacency. Motorists are taking driving for granted and not appreciating the risks involved. Instead, you should be alert and fully attentive at all times.
TECHNOLOGY DESIGNED TO IMPROVE YOUR DRIVING
With distracted driving a threat on British roads, it wasn’t going to be long before companies began to build technology as a way of countering the problem. There’s quite a lot both on and coming to market too, so you have plenty to choose from. Whether it’s in-built car features or an extra that motorists can purchase, each is designed to ensure every journey is made safer.
Take a look at some of the tech you should be using on the roads.
We’ve mentioned Bluetooth a few times already and as discussed, although it’s much safer to use than a mobile phone, still carries a certain element of risk. Most cars manufactured nowadays will have Bluetooth technology as standard. It’s voice activated and allows motorists to make calls and even change music without touching the handset.
However, research from AAA found that a driver could still be distracted some 27 seconds after a call. Therefore, it’s not 100% risk-free, but still a much preferred option to using your phone.
Heads-up display is one of the latest tech features to find their way into new cars, showing key stats and details in the driver’s line of sight. This would include speed and fuel levels. The light projection is reflected off the windscreen.
Heads-up display can show other minor information too, such as the radio station you’re listening to and the volume.
The latest cars are fitted with voice activated tech that’ll ensure motorists can check for traffic, set their sat nav and access their infotainment system without looking away from the road. These are great at keeping all attention focussed on the driving.
Research from Highways Safety discovered that voice activation features were very effective too, although weren’t able to completely eliminate distractions.
LANE DEPARTURE WARNINGS
Whilst this tech may not prevent you being distracted, it monitors your vehicle to assess if it’s drifting from position (because of a distraction, for example). It’s great for warning a driver they’ve lost attention and focus on the road, with the use of cameras and sensors.
If your vehicle strays from its correct line, you’ll receive an audio or visual alert to correct the mistake. Some systems also have a vibrating steering wheel, to alert those who may have nodded off.
This is another feature that’s used to prevent an accident or collision, because of a distraction. Thanks to radar sensors, the brake will be automatically applied if the motorist fails to do so and a crash is imminent.
Now, around 25% of vehicles are fitted with automatic braking tech, whilst even more have this as an optional extra – so it’s definitely picking up in popularity. This feature has the potential to save lives and will reduce the severity of a crash too.
TECH FOR TEENS
Teenagers are most at risk from distracted driving related accidents and as such, there’s a clear market for building tech dedicated to reducing risks. The new Chevrolet Malibu from General Motors caters to this demographic, offering a Teen Driver system.
The feature monitors the driving habits of the teen and reports back to the parents. The radio system will also be muted until all passengers are belted up. Ford’s McKey includes this, plus a Do Not Disturb option – Blocking incoming texts and calls when synched to the driver’s smartphone.
To the same extent distracted driving is a major cause of accidents on the road, the practice of defensive driving is designed to improve road safety. They’re the complete opposites of one another, with defensive driving focussed on anticipating hazards and improving observational skills.
It’s also worth noting that defensive driving isn’t just about becoming safer on the roads. This practice will also help to improve your fuel economy, reduce strain on the vehicle and minimise tyre wear. In all, these will save you a considerable amount in the long run.
You don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds on defensive driving lessons either. Instead, the skills can be self-taught. All you need is patience and dedication. Both combined will ensure you become a better driver almost instantly.
Instructors ensure all learners are trained in the arts of defensive driving and as such, when students first pass, they’re often more methodical than the more experienced. It’s only later that drivers begin to pick up bad habits, after becoming a lot more comfortable behind the wheel. Patience is lost and motorists start to speed and disregard safety.
Defensive driving techniques are simple to adopt though and include:
- Checking your blind spot before pulling out.
- Always ensuring a two-second rule, especially on dual carriageways and motorways.
- Anticipating hazards and planning ahead to ensure leaving plenty of time for your journey.
THE BENEFITS OF DEFENSIVE DRIVING
Defensive driving is all about taking to the roads in a safe and assured manner. Plus, there are plenty of great reasons to learn the tricks of driving defensively.
These would include the following:
REDUCED INSURANCE COSTS
One of the key factors insurers will use to calculate your premium, is the number of claims you’ve made in the past. Defensive driving equips you with the skills to avoid collisions on the road, therefore reducing the likelihood of you filing a claim.
IMPROVE FUEL ECONOMY
A better fuel economy will reduce your expenses at the petrol pump. Modern cars are designed to have excellent fuel economy, but you’ll waste more petrol speeding around, braking harshly and accelerating like there’s no tomorrow.
ANTICIPATE SITUATIONS BETTER
To avoid accidents, you need to learn how to anticipate hazards and drive in a conservative way on the roads. Give yourself extra time to react to dangerous situations and reduce the chances of you being caught up in a collision.
BECOME A BETTER DRIVER
Skilful driving is about getting from A to B safely, timely and in an observant manner. Racing should be kept for the tracks.
There is an Advanced Driving test designed to further improve the skills picked up through lessons. Stats suggest this will reduce the chances of you being caught up in an accident by two thirds. Considering there is a road traffic incident every 90 seconds in the UK, there’s never been a better time to change your driving habits.
Eliminate the risk in your driving and take precautions to ensure you’re not involved in a road collision. This involves driving at a suitable speed given the conditions and potential hazards. For instance, travelling at 40mph in a 30mph zone is more likely to lead to an incident, whilst driving 40mph in a national speed limit area would needlessly hold motorists up and encourage them to take risks.
KEEPING YOUR ROAD RAGE UNDER CONTROL
1. MUCH NEEDED SLEEP
You’re probably a little ratty when tired and as such, your patience levels will be pretty low when on the roads. Make sure you get your recommended eight hours a night and you’ll be less likely to suffer an outburst.
2. PLAN YOUR JOURNEY
If you’re rushing around late, you’re more likely to become infuriated at the actions of a fellow motorist. The solution? Leave yourself loads of time to get to your destination, anticipating any delays you may encounter.
3. DRIVE WITHIN THE LAW
We’re all human and need something to help us let off steam – Don’t let this be your commuting though. Racing around the roads is unsafe, regardless how much power is stored in the engine.
4. CHANGE YOUR MUSIC
Or even switch it off entirely. Aggressive music is likely to translate to your driving. Instead, consider classical or otherwise relaxing music to listen to when on the roads.
5. LEARN TO CALM DOWN
It’s difficult to keep composed on the road, especially when the motorist in front does something outrageous. However, rather than seeing red, calm yourself down and take deep breaths. The situation will pass and you’ll be able to continue driving.
6. IT’S NOT PERSONAL
The antics of other road users is unlikely to be in an effort to wind you up. If they switch lanes dangerously or brake harshly, don’t take it as a personal slant. Instead, shrug off the problem and continue as normal.
7. PROTECT YOUR HEALTH
Research suggests road rage is linked to some medical problems, including heart attacks. Your next burst of road rage could be potentially life threatening, so try to avoid a reaction.
8. DON’T BE JEKYLL AND HYDE
If a customer cuts you up in the queue at your local supermarket, would you burst into a fit of rage? Unlikely. Don’t change your personality when you get behind the wheel.
ANTICIPATING ROAD HAZARDS
When you’re learning to drive you’ll be taught the fundaments of avoiding hazards and better anticipating what to expect from the road ahead. In fact, the DVLA take hazard perception so seriously that there’s even a dedicated section.
However, even after you’ve successfully passed this test by clicking at the right times, you should try to keep this skill and knowledge throughout your motoring life.
There are two crucial parts to consider:
Driving in a way where you’ll be ready for any hazard encountered.
Knowing your route and leaving plenty of time for your journey.
Both anticipation and planning take their time to master fully, but it’s crucial to learn how to drive with both in mind.
For instance, one of Britain’s major hazards on the road is cyclists. Cycling has had a second wave of such in recent years and now thousands take their bikes to the road, whether commuting to work or for leisure at the weekends. However, more than 100 cyclists are killed annually in the UK, with many more suffering injures. Whilst many cyclists will ride safely, others won’t wait enough time to pull out from a junction.
As a motorist, although you can’t control the actions of others, it’s important to spot the potential hazard early and ready yourself for a course of action. This includes when preparing to overtake cyclists. Many drivers will speed past as soon as possible, endangering themselves, the cyclist and potential oncoming traffic.
Instead, you should take your time, wait for a clear gap in the road ahead and leave plenty of space when overtaking. You may see cyclists as an inconvenience, but it’s vital to ensure they’re treated with the respect they deserve.
Of course, this is just one hazard among hundreds. Take a look at a few more you should consider:
Reduce your speed when approaching pedestrian crossings, giving yourself enough time to stop if need be. Remember, if zebra lines are marked in the road, waiting pedestrians have the right of passage.
Parked cars are a hazard, especially when they’re on both sides of the road. You should be aware of passengers inside opening the car door onto the road, or children running out from between vehicles.
An emergency vehicle in your rear mirror can be unnerving and you’ll likely start to panic about where you should stop or pull to one side. Make sure you keep checking mirrors and give yourself plenty of time by slowing down and stopping in advance.
Roundabouts shouldn’t be hit at 30mph. Instead, you should approach each roundabout as if you’ll be ready to stop.
Just like cyclists, motorbikes are also a hazard on the road. Motorcyclists are prone to weaving in and out of traffic at ease, so make sure to check your side mirrors regularly.
Anticipating and thorough planning are both vital, whether you’re learning or are an experienced driver. These skills will help you better prepare for hazards and the techniques are designed to keep you, your passengers and all other road users safe.
Author of this guide: Michael Morris
Many useful links and more information about this guide can be found on the original posting of the guide, this can be found HERE.
While buying a brand new car might be alluring, and being the first driver registered to the car certainly has its benefits, it’s not necessarily the right choice for you. Before you make you decide, read our guide to pre-registered vehicles to see if it’s the best option for your needs. When it’s time to […]
Make sure you’re not caught out by European driving regulations this summer. Here’s everything you need to drive in Europe. With cheap ferry and channel tunnel crossings available making travel to Europe by car a synch, the prospect of planning a holiday on the continent – or even booking a last minute deal – is […]
While most cars these days it’s almost unheard of to find a new car that doesn’t come with some form of air conditioning as standard, it surprising how often people misunderstand how their car’s air conditioning works. This results in a lack of maintenance that can massively reduce its usefulness. So to make sure you’re […]