What every driver should know
What causes accidents on our roads? Do you think you know everything there is to know to stay safe and avoid prosecution?
There are five main causes of death on the road. These are known as the fatal five:
- not wearing your seatbelt
- distractions - using your mobile or a hand-held device
- drink and drugs
- careless and inconsiderate driving.
Here, you’ll find top tips on how to avoid these dangers and make sure that you’re staying safe whilst driving. Irresponsible driving doesn’t just risk your life, but the lives of others too. It’s better to be safe than sorry
- make a habit of checking your speedometer regularly
- look for road signs (especially at junctions)
- remember - streetlights mean 30mph (until signs tell you otherwise)
- when driving at 30mph, try using third gear to stay within the safe limit.
Even if you’re within the speed limit, make sure you’re driving appropriately.
Think carefully about the road you’re on and any other conditions.
2. Remember – always wear your seatbelt.
It’s against the law to not wear your seatbelt in vehicles where they are fitted. All passengers aged 14 years or over in cars must wear a seatbelt, unless they have a medical exemption certificate.
It is the responsibility of the adult passenger (not the driver) to ensure that they are using the seatbelt.
Anyone with a Certificate of Exemption from Compulsory Seatbelt Wearing issued by a doctor for medical reasons is exempt from having to wear a seatbelt, but they must keep the certificate in the vehicle and show it to the police if stopped. They should also inform their insurer.
3. Distractions - using your mobile or a hand-held device
It only takes you being briefly distracted by a glance at your phone screen for a fatal accident to happen. Whatever it is will still be there when you’re in a safe place to answer it - safely parked, off the road, with the engine switched off and the keys out of the ignition.
Some ways to avoid the temptation:
- switch off your phone or device before you set off
- divert your phone to voicemail
- within Apple iPhone settings, go to Settings > Control Centre > tap Do Not Disturb While Driving
- for Android users, download the Live2Txt app – this allows you to block calls and texts whilst on the road.
Even though hand-held device kits are legal, they can still be dangerously distracting. Operating SatNavs whilst driving is also an unsafe behaviour.
4. Drink and Drug Driving
Every week in the UK, 11 people will die because of drink driving.
The penalties if caught driving while impaired through drink or drugs are severe. If caught, you face a minimum one-year ban, a fine of up to £5,000 and six months in jail
5. Avoid Distractions
Distraction is linked to so many of these other behaviours, in that distracted drivers are not sufficiently focused on what’s happening on the road or with their vehicle to keep an appropriate speed, to keep an appropriate distance, or to react quickly enough; and they are also likely to compound one distraction behaviour with many others.