Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Safety First: How To Be A Better Driver

If you had to give yourself a score out of 10, how highly would you rate your driving skills? Many of us think that we are good drivers, but over 90% of road accidents are caused by human error. Safety is crucial when heading out onto the roads. Even if you think you’re a great driver, it’s worth taking these tips on board to minimize the risk of injuries. 

Image credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/transport-traffic-auto-accident-3146193/
Don’t drive if you feel tired

Many of us have days when we feel lethargic and our energy levels are low. If you’ve not been sleeping well, or you work shifts, and you’re tired after a busy night at work, avoid getting behind the wheel. Driving tired puts your safety at risk, but it could also have implications for others. When you’re exhausted, your reaction times are slower, and you might not notice hazards around you. Instead of trying to battle through and keep your eyes open, take a nap or get out of the car and stretch your legs in the open air if you’re already on the road. Listening to music and having a cup of tea or coffee can also help to make you feel more alert. A National Sleep Foundation survey revealed that 20% of drivers have fallen asleep at least once in the last year. 

Keep your eyes on the road at all times

We tend to be multi-taskers these days, but when you’re driving, trying to do more than one thing at once is a bad idea. Keep your eyes fixed on the road at all times. The environment around you can change in an instant, and hazards can appear from nowhere. If you’re not looking at the road, you might not notice a cyclist traveling alongside your vehicle or a child run out from behind a car parked on the side of the street. If you can’t react quickly enough, the consequences can be devastating. If you need to make a call, use a voice-activated system or pull over in a safe place. If you injure somebody through negligence, you could face legal charges and the injured party may seek advice from serious injury attorneys. It can be tempting to pick up the phone and send a quick text, but you could end up regretting that action for the rest of your life. Wait until you stop or reach your destination to respond to messages, or find a safe place to park. 

Be patient

Road rage can get the better of even the calmest and most measured driver. If you’ve had a bad day, or you’re desperate to get home and there’s a huge line of traffic, it’s very easy to get frustrated and lose your cool. Try and stay calm and don’t take your anger out on other drivers. Driving aggressively can make others feel threatened, and it will also increase the risk of accidents. 

Take the conditions into consideration

Driving on a clear, warm day is very different to trying to navigate your way to a destination in snow showers, fog or torrential rain. If you’re driving in the winter, or there’s a storm coming, take extra care and alter your speed. Even if the speed limit is 70mph, it’s unwise to drive at this speed if conditions are treacherous. Slow down, stay well back from the vehicle in front and give people plenty of notice if you’re stopping, pulling over or changing lane. If there are weather warnings, postpone your journey. 

Most accidents are caused by drivers making mistakes. Take these tips on board to stay safe and protect other road users. 

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