20 tips for staying safe on the road

Sometimes, we all need to be reminded of the simple things in life. And driving really is simple – particularly when you make a concerted effort to stay safe on the road.

With that in mind – and because it’s Road Harm Awareness Month – we thought we’d put together 20 simple tips for driving safely

No matter your level of experience, there’s something here for everyone.

1. Buckle-up

There are absolutely no exceptions when it comes to wearing a seat belt, regardless of where you happen to be sitting in the car. Plus, if you’re caught, you’ll be hit with a hefty fine.

2. Get plenty of sleep before long drives

If you’ve a long drive ahead, make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before and have a big, hearty breakfast.

3. Stay alert

Your actions behind the wheel can have serious consequences if you let your concentration slip. Proactive pay attention to what you – and those around you – are doing.

4. Always indicate

How often do you see people exiting roundabouts without indicating? Irritating isn’t it? It’s unsafe, too; don’t be that person.

5. Pay attention to traffic signals

We’re met with so many signs, lights and instructions on modern roads, but they’re all intended to keep us safe. Don’t dismiss them.

6. Don’t ignore the yellow light

How much do you think about the yellow signal at traffic lights? It’s there to remind us that we need to start slowing down – it’s not a prompt to step on the accelerator to make the lights in time.

7. Use your brakes – properly

When you have to stop at the lights or in traffic, come to a complete stop – don’t edge needlessly forwards or creep backwards.

8. Never text and drive

In fact, never use your phone while driving – full stop. Those notifications, emails and messages from friends can all wait until you’re either out of the car or pulled up somewhere safe with the engine turned off.

9. Stick to speed limits

Speed limits aren’t an estimation of how fast you should be driving, nor are they a target. Obey the limits at all times and reduce your speed when driving through built-up areas.

10. Drive to the tune of the weather

If it’s foggy, raining cats and dogs or beginning to snow, adjust your driving for the conditions. Mother Nature is a cruel beast, but if you’re willing to be guided by her on the road, you’ll stay safe.

11. Be patient

By smashing your fists on the steering wheel or gesturing unkindly at other road users, you’ll do nothing more than raise your blood pressure and increase the likelihood of an accident taking place. Exercise patience on the road, no matter how hard it might be.

12. Don’t tailgate

An easy one, this – don’t drive too close to people. Stick two car lengths behind. Tailgating is extremely dangerous, intimidating and pointless.

13. Don’t be unpredictable

Unpredictable driving has caused many an accident. Be predictable on the road; indicate when you should, turn when expected and ensure other road users are able to anticipate your next move.

14. Never drive under the influence

Don’t drink and drive. There are few things in this world more irresponsible than driving under the influence of drink or drugs.

15. Yield to rights of way

If another driver has the right of way, make sure you yield to them. However, don’t assume everyone will do this for you; stay alert when it’s your turn in case the other driver forgets how to follow the rules.

16. Suss out your route

Without a solid route plan, you’ll spend more time on the road trying to work out where you’re going than staying alert.

17. Turn those headlights on

Unless your car has automatic headlights, you need to remember to turn them on when required. That means at dusk and – a pet hate of many a road user – when it’s foggy.

18. Remember you’re sharing the road

No single driver owns the road, no matter the size or value of their vehicle. We’re all in this together, so let’s share the driving experience, rather than treat it as a battle of wills.

19. Take care of your car

Tyre pressures should be regularly topped up along with the all-important fluids (oil, screen wash, coolant, etc). The more care you show your car, the safer you’ll be on the road – it’s that simple.

20. Say “thanks”

While this tip may not appear directly linked to road safety, by saying “thanks” when people let you go at junctions, you’ll contribute to a far more harmonious road network, and that will go an awfully long way.

If you’ve been driving for a long time, it’s easy to dismiss the above tips as patronising, but we all need a reminder once in awhile, and the longer you’ve been behind the wheel, the more likely you are to become complacent.

Stay safe, folks.

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