According to statistics, around 126,247 road accidents occur in the UK yearly, accounting for nearly 346 on a daily basis. The numbers are quite alarming, and it’s even more frightening to think that many vehicle collisions are fatal. And even if they aren’t, they still have a long-lasting impact on victims, both physically and emotionally.
Now, there is no way to be 100% safe on the road – even if you are driving carefully, sometimes an accident can still occur due to another driver’s fault (it’s impossible to control external circumstances; you are only responsible for your behaviour when on the road). If you get injured in an accident because of someone else’s negligence, remember you can claim compensation for the damage you suffered. You can read more about this at https://www.howmuchcompensation.co.uk/.
That being said, taking preventive measures is important, as this can go a long way in avoiding a vehicle collision. Here are 6 traffic rules to stay safe on the road and prevent significant mistakes that can risk your and other drivers’ lives. Read on!
Wear your seatbelt
Seatbelts save lives – and we have statistics to prove it. According to the CDC, they can considerably lower the risk of death by around 45% while also lessening the severity of an injury by 50% – that’s quite impressive. This is because the seatbelt restrains you, so in case of an accident, it can ensure you won’t strike something in your car, like the window, headrest, or door frame.
Hence, when getting behind the wheel, you should always ensure that you are buckled up – and so should the passengers you transport in the vehicle. Wearing your seatbelt allows you to set a good example among those around you, promoting good driving practices. Besides, it is also a legal requirement, so you should use it to avoid hefty fines.
Don’t use alcohol and drugs
This is a no-brainer, but you should never drive after consuming alcohol. Even one small amount can affect your concentration, sensory perception and reaction time, as it slows down your central nervous system functioning, making you less prepared to avoid an accident.
And it’s the same if you’re on drugs – by no means should you get on the road after using substances and even prescription medications. For instance, antidepressants can cause impairment, making it dangerous to drive. Make sure to always read warning labels and consult with your healthcare provider to know what the side effects of the medications are and how they interfere with driving.
Keep enough distance
This is an essential part of defensive driving, as it helps prevent the risk of collisions – and lowers the injuries’ severity if a crash occurs suddenly. You should apply the 2-second rule in good traffic conditions; while on gravel roads or wet conditions, you should expand the distance. If you’re behind a heavy vehicle, always keep in mind that slowing down can take longer.
Keeping a safe distance from the driver in front of you gives you enough time to respond if they slam on the brakes unexpectedly. It allows you to see what is going on ahead of you and anticipate situations, at the same time enabling other drivers to do the same. Plus, driving is smoother and more economical when you follow this rule.
Stay within the speed limit
Most drivers – if not all – have broken the speed limit at least once in their lives, whether accidentally or intentionally. However, exceeding the speed limit affects your ability to react to unexpected traffic situations, so it’s imperative to avoid it. Make sure to stay focused while on the road, and check your speedometer to avoid overtaking. Your speed could be increasing without you realising it, and it’s essential to be aware that you are going too fast before the speed camera flashes.
Drivers often exceed the speed limit because they are in a rush. If that’s the case for you, consider leaving earlier – plan your trip in advance to save valuable time in the morning. This way, you will no longer be in a hurry and instead set off relaxed, knowing that you will arrive on time at the destination. Staying within the speed limit is one of the most important rules to follow because it plays a crucial role in your safety on the road, so make sure not to overlook it.
Avoid using your phone
Unfortunately, many drivers make the mistake of distracting themselves in various ways while driving, including using their smartphones. But this can have devastating consequences – it can only take one second of carelessness for an accident to occur. When on the road, your focus should solely be on the road, so avoid looking at the screen as much as possible. If you expect a call, consider turning on your Bluetooth and using the hearing device instead.
Suppose you need your phone for directions; it’s not necessary to look at the map on the phone and try to understand where you are and where you must go from a specific area. Instead, consider turning on the audio navigation, as this will help you get to the right location safely, ensuring you keep your eyes on the road at all times, thus preventing an accident.
Make sure to maintain your vehicle
Is your car ready for the road? This is truly important, and we don’t recommend driving your vehicle without first ensuring it is functioning properly – if it doesn’t, it can cause an accident. Thus, before getting on the road, make sure to check the car’s oil and gas levels, evaluate the tires’ condition, and listen to the engine to determine if it makes any odd noises. Also, check if the car has sufficient windshield wiper fluid.
If this isn’t something you can do on your own, consider taking your vehicle to a mechanic. A professional will perform a visual inspection of your car, ensuring it is ready for the road.
The bottom line
Practicing safe driving is a crucial responsibility that every driver needs to uphold for the well-being of themselves and others. The need for safety is evident in the plenty of law offices specializing in vehicle accidents including the one’s on the billboard like Crash Call Ash.
Following road signs, adhering to speed limits, avoiding distractions like mobile phones, and keeping a safe distance from other vehicles are key elements in maintaining safety on the roads. It’s also vital to be well-versed in the necessary actions during emergencies, such as having knowledge of basic car maintenance and keeping emergency contact numbers at hand.
Ultimately, safety on the road doesn’t merely depend on individual conscientiousness but is a collective effort. Let us remember, every time we get behind the wheel, we wield the power to safeguard lives. Safe driving, therefore, is not just a good habit, but a social obligation—a commitment to respect and care for the lives of others as much as we do our own.
Read our opinion piece: Why driving is the worst thing about living in Devon.