Each year, 3 million people are killed in car accidents around the world, with up to 50 million people suffering from injuries.
Knowing how to drive safely is key to protecting yourself, your family, and other road users but if you do get injured in a road traffic accident you may be able to make a claim which can help you with the costs of any medical treatment or vehicle repairs necessary. To avoid any accidents, here are some things to be aware of.
Don’t drive distracted
Distraction is one of the major causes of road traffic accidents, with even just listening to loud music slowing reaction times by 20%. As such, turning down music and being aware of the road ahead of you are key when driving safely.
You should never use your mobile phone while driving unless in hands-free mode at risk of a £100 fine and three penalty points. If using your phone for navigation be sure to not have it in your hands and instead invest in a phone holder for your vehicle.
Perform regular vehicle checks
It may seem obvious, but one of the most important tips for safe driving is to ensure that your vehicle is regularly serviced and you perform your own checks – especially before a long journey. Key checks include fluid levels like water and oil, headlights and indicators and your tyres.
When it comes to tyres, the minimum tread depth is 1.6mm and you can check this with a 20p coin. If the sidewall is damaged on any tyre it should be replaced immediately as worn or damaged tyres are dangerous but also illegal.
Keep your distance
In normal, dry conditions it is suggested to maintain at least two seconds worth of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. If the conditions are poor then this should be doubled to ensure that you can react in time to avoid a collision and doubled again if the weather is severe such as in ice or snow – making a recommended space of 8 seconds. The more space that you keep between you and another vehicle, the less likely you are to crash. Therefore, being aware of other road users around you is key to keeping yourself safe and reducing the risk of an accident.
Don’t drive tired
Guidelines suggest that you should take a minimum of a 15-minute break for every two hours that you drive continuously. Driving tired contributes significantly to the likelihood of a car accident so be sure to plan your journey taking breaks into account. If you are feeling fatigued, pull over somewhere safe and get some fresh air or turn into a service station and grab a drink or a snack to wake you up a little.