How to be a safer driver

Driving like most things becomes routine and bad habits are easily formed so here are some simple strategies to help make our roads safer for you and all other road users writes Geraldine Herbert

Skills that put you in control
Consider taking an Advanced driving course, these courses cover types of driving that aren’t typically included in standard driving lessons and can improve your confidence on the road and your knowledge of how to drive in challenging environments. The  Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM RoadSmart course is accredited by the DVSA and takes three to six months to complete, and once finished you could receive a discount on your car insurance.

Follow the three-second rule
Driving too close behind the car in front is also known as tailgating which increases your chances of having an accident. By leaving an adequate distance between you and the car in front this means you will have adequate time to break or react if necessary. When the car ahead of you passes a certain point, such as a road sign or a lamp post, count “one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand- three.” This takes approximately three seconds. If you pass the same point before you finish counting, you are following too closely. The rule only works in normal traffic under good weather conditions so in heavy rainfall or fog increase the number of seconds depending on how extreme the weather is.

Slow down
The faster you drive your car, the longer it takes to stop so ensure at all times that your speed matches the conditions of the road. When there’s rain or snow, or if it’s dark, slow down Remember also that speeding not only increases your chances of an accident but it also means you use more fuel and it may lead to fines, penalty points and even disqualification

Hidden dangers of driveways
The majority of child fatalities in the UK occur in a built-up area and at least 39 children in the UK have been killed on, or near, the driveways of their home since 2001. Most of these accidents occur where the driver is reversing and is unable to see a child behind the car. Before you begin to drive check around your car and reverse slowly with the windows down and the radio off.

Car Sear Safety
 By law, it’s the driver’s legal responsibility to ensure all passengers aged under 14 are appropriately restrained, whether they’re your children or others. Ensure all children in your car are in the correct seat, appropriate to their height and weight and that the seat they are in has been fitted correctly. If you are in any doubt you can find IOSH advisors trained by Child Seat Safety around the country who can answer your child car seat questions

Cut out distractions
 Your chances of an accident more than doubles if your eyes are off the road for more than two seconds, so stay focused when driving. Talking on the phone while driving is not safe, even if you have a hands-free as it takes your mind off the road, and that increases your risk of a crash. Also when travelling with children ensure they have everything they may need within arms reach.

 

Geraldine Herbert

29th April, 2019

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Motoring journalist Geraldine Herbert is the founder of wheelsforwomen. A jury member for the International Women’s World Car of the Year, she has been a motoring journalist for over ten years and is the motoring expert for Good Housekeeping Magazine and their “Women at the Wheel” section of goodhousekeeing.co.uk. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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