Many people drive every day, several times a day. It has become almost more common than walking as a means to get about, and some people will even drive one block rather than walk it (and of course, some people have conditions that prevent their walking very far). But driving is actually quite a dangerous pastime: controlling a ton or so of heavy metal and chemicals, at fairly high speeds – and doing so alongside hundreds of other people! But it is possible to practice road safety as a driver that can reduce your risk of accident or injury.
Be calm, rested and focussed
Losing control of your emotions can result in losing control of your vehicle, so do try to remain calm. If someone is tailgating you, crowding you, or trying to incite you to drive faster, find a safe place to pull over for a moment, to let them draw ahead, rather than becoming angry and perhaps becoming involved in an accident. You should not drive if you are ill or tired as this can reduce your reaction time as well as making you a slightly more careless driver. And, of course, when you are driving, one hundred per cent of your attention should be on the road, other road users, and any pedestrians nearby, not on your phone, GPS, map-book, or anything else.
It’s not you, it’s them!
Learning to drive defensively is a great skill and one that will keep you safe on the roads. With defensive driving, you essentially assume that everyone else is driving poorly, not paying attention and liable to make random turns or stops without indicating their intentions. Defensive driving (also called advanced driving) is taught and will show you how to carefully observe the road and its surroundings, and pick out potential hazards.
Your tyres are your main point of contact with the road, and it does not really matter how careful a driver you are if your tyres will not grip the road and take the vehicle where you want it to go. Keep an eye on your tyres, regularly checking for signs of damage or weakness, and also ensure that your tread depth is well within legal limits. The legal minimum is 1.6mm of tread depth, but many experts recommend not allowing your tyres to wear below 3mm. Your tyres will be carefully checked at your annual MOT roadworthiness test.
Weather or not
Keep an eye on weather conditions. Driving on a beautifully clear sunny day in summer is very different to coping with fog, sudden snowfall or even a heavy rain shower. Knowing what weather to expect during your drive can help you to prepare for the conditions that you will encounter and give you time to learn how to cope with such conditions. Even the low sun can be blinding when reflecting off the road or other vehicles so use your car’s sun visors appropriately when driving. Ice is also very hazardous and can be invisible to the eye when driving, so take it slow in icy conditions.
Install a tracking device
This might not seem like it will keep you safe whilst driving but it will help you keep an eye on your loved ones whilst they are driving. A vehicle tracker can help you see exactly where your car is at all times, whilst also providing accurate information like speed and motion data. Some models will also notify you when your vehicle has exceeded a specific speed. This could be handy to keep an eye on your teenage children and ensure they are driving sensibly. Insurance companies may also offer discount for those with a tracking device fitted to their vehicles. People tend to drive more safely when they know there is recording equipment fitted to their vehicle.
Keep an eye on the actual road too
On the road, you face many risks. There are other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians that may not be paying attention or that might veer into your lane. However, the actual road itself could be hazardous! You could face road hazards like potholes or debris on the asphalt, so be mindful of the road itself. Potholes are a major issue that could damage your vehicle or cause other drivers to swerve into your lane. The holes create safety hazards for vehicles following behind you because they don’t know what’s ahead of them. If you see an animal on the road, you should know how to use your high beam headlights so that the animal will get scared and run away from danger.
Driving is not only a fun activity for some people, it is also a means of transportation. It is one of the most important skills to have in our society. It is so important that you need to pay attention to the road at all times while driving. This means that you should pay attention to what other drivers are doing, pedestrians, and other things on the road too.