British roads are becoming increasingly busier and more dangerous in particular areas of the country. Last year there were 1900 fatalities on UK roads and almost 23,000 serious injuries. Just to put that into some sort of perspective; the amount of serious injuries equates to around the population of Liverpool City Centre! Interestingly you would expect the vast majority of these figures to arrive from motorway accidents, however according to Government statistics, motorways only stand for around 3% of fatalities and injures. Thinking logically this makes a great deal of sense, as everyone is travelling in the same direction but at faster speeds. Urban roads are the most common to receive accidents, with 70% of the makeup. This means that the majority of incidents occur on general roads that people travel on all day long. For this reason, we have compiled ten top tips on staying safe on British roads.
Assume everyone’s clueless
The first important tip is to assume that everyone driving around you is clueless. If this state of mind is considered people would instantly make better judgement calls in instances including turning into junctions, general road alignment and stopping distances. By assuming that the person in front could carry out any random act at anytime, you can adjust your driving style to counteract any potential incident.
More haste, less speed
Each year statistically 40% of fatal accidents are speed related. Reducing your speed by as little as 5 mph could reduce traffic collision by 2%. This will also reduce fuel consumption, therefore saving money.
Light up the way
40% of road accidents occur within hours of darkness, with around 20% of those incurring fatal or serious injuries. The reasons are that driver’s sight is shortened due to the darkness and so hazards can often seem to appear out of nowhere. Having one light out on the front reduces visibility by almost half, therefore increasing the chances of an accident.
With the recession still in full swing, many put off servicing their vehicles until absolutely necessary. Although this may save money initially, this can actually end up costing much more and become potentially dangerous. Not all services include checking tyres and brakes; however mechanical inspectors will raise any hidden problems while they are servicing vehicles. These lurking faults could become hazardous if unchecked by putting off services.
Radio’s are for listening, not touching!
Set the radio station or CD before setting off on a journey. A large proportion of accidents occur from people playing with their radio, which can easily be avoided. These accidents tend to occur in low speed collisions while in traffic jams or at traffic lights.
Get off the phone
25% of road accidents are caused by talking on mobile phones whilst driving. This is not always caused by holding the phone, and even hand free talking is a major distraction to drivers. Instead, pull into the nearest layby or safe area to talk. Not only could this save your life, but will also avoid potential penalty points.
It goes without saying how important wearing a seatbelt is to ensuring your safety. Seatbelts are not put into vehicles to look nice, they service a vital purpose. This simple but effective safety measure can save up to 61% of crash victims’ lives including passengers. Don’t forget that the people in the back could also cause you serious injury if they are not wearing their seatbelt correctly.
Don’t overdo it
A recent survey carried out by ALD Automotive discovered that Brits travel 55,000 miles asleep at the wheel. This staggering statistic was further made worse by the fact that those surveyed admitted to driving at 50 mph whilst nodding off. Overall it is estimated that 170,000 accidents are as a result of sleeping drivers.
Keep kids in order
Children are twelve times more distracting than driving on mobile phones. On average parents spend 21% of their time looking away from the road when children are in the back. Misbehaved children can increase this distraction even further; therefore keeping them under control is a major priority. Instead of yelling over a shoulder, stop the vehicle and attend to the problem before setting off again.
Everyone has heard the slogan ‘Think bike’ over and over again on road safety adverts and billboards, but this doesn’t just apply to motorcyclists. Britain’s roads are increasingly filling up with cyclists, which is causing a bit of a stir in cities like London. Remember to keep good distance when behind and overtaking cyclists, as passing at speed can suck them towards the vehicle. Remember to give more consideration to them, as they are far less protected than you.