The UK has some of the safest roads in the world, but 1,800 people are still killed on British roads every year. When first learning to drive, you probably know the Highway Code like the back of your hand, but there’s more to driving than just the Highway Code alone.
If you’re a new driver and you get into an accident, make sure to follow all of these steps, but it’s obviously better to avoid a crash in the first place. Here are 8 tips that should help to prevent car accidents on the road.
We’ve all heard of or seen the stereotypical “boy racer” speeding in his/her car in an effort to impress his friends, and this kind of peer pressure can affect any driver. If your friends are encouraging you to speed and put other road users in danger, you should always stick to the speed limit. 1 in 4 young drivers crash within their first 2 years of driving – don’t become another statistic.
Distracted driving – checking your phone or writing a text while driving – can be just as dangerous as drink-driving. When you’re travelling quickly, all it takes is 1 or 2 seconds of distraction for an accident to occur. Using a mobile phone whilst driving is illegal in the UK. Turn your phone off or put it in silent mode when driving – the sound of a notification or phone call can be very tempting. If you’re using your phone as a sat nav, put it in “do not disturb” mode to avoid distractions.
Although you can technically drink a pint and be within the legal limit to drive, our bodies react differently to alcohol on different days. Depending on your body, your metabolism, and what you’ve eaten that day, 1 pint could be enough to make you tipsy and seriously affect your reaction times on the road. It’s better to play it safe.
If you’re using a sat nav for your journey, get the route ready before you set off. The same goes for if you’re using your phone to play music on Spotify or listen to a podcast – get everything going before you set off. Programming stuff into your sat nav while driving is incredibly dangerous and takes your attention away from the road.
Some drivers can be very pushy and impatient. You might find that you’re travelling 30 mph in a 30 zone but someone behind you is staying dangerously close to encourage you to break the speed limit. Don’t give in to this pressure – the other driver should overtake you at a safe point if they see fit.
If you’re driving in a rural area with country lanes, you might see the “national speed limit” sign indicating that you can drive 60 mph on single carriageway lanes. If you’re on a tight country lane with blind corners and spaces where only 1 car can pass, then flying around it at 60 mph is obviously a very bad idea. If there are long stretches with clear visibility, then you might want to approach 60, but generally, you should drive more carefully and slow right down if you can’t see what’s coming or you’re approaching a corner.
It’s a good idea to check the weather forecast before setting off on a journey, especially if you’re not used to driving in adverse conditions. For example, if it’s going to be extremely rainy, you might want to choose a longer route which is safer to drive in heavy rain. Similarly, if there’s snow outside, especially in the winter season, you need to plan accordingly.
As well as following the highway code, you should also be aware of other road users. Some road uses may not follow the highway code as precisely as they should which can be the main cause of accidents. Other road users can include cars, lorries, motorcycles, pedestrians and cyclists.