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The Ultimate Road Safety Cheat Sheet

January 9, 2014

As a driver, safety is absolutely paramount. Making sure that you aren’t endangering yourself or any other drivers on the road is massively important and very easy to do. Here’s our cheeky cheat sheet to make sure you’re driving safe 24/7.

Never Drink and Drive

Number one, top of the list, the most important rule to remember. You might think we’re stating the obvious but, in 2013, more than 10,000 people died in drink-driving related crashes – so some people clearly didn’t get the memo. Driving under the influence ruins lives and nobody should be risking a life to save a taxi fare.

Buckle Up!

Studies have revealed that a staggering 14% of adults admit to not wearing a seatbelt on a regular basis. Over 30 million people drive in the UK – that’s at least a gigantic 4 million people driving around who have consciously decided not to wear one. Seatbelts save lives – there’s no denying it – so endure the minimal discomfort involved and stay safe. If you’d been wearing it since you started driving, you’d already be used to it anyway – just like the other 86% of drivers are.

Don’t Use Your Mobile Phone

Studies show that making calls when you’re driving leaves you up to 4 times more likely to crash. Even with a hands-free, it requires a lot of your concentration and its cost to the public is also measured in lives – not just money. Every year, thousands are injured in accidents caused by motorists on the telephone. Even if you really need to make a call, find an opportunity to pull over. It might take you 5 minutes longer to get home from work, but that’s undoubtedly better than not returning home at all.

Indicators!

And that’s every time you turn – not just when you feel like it. That one time you think nobody is around and you don’t need to indicate will be the time when some risk-taking biker decides he’s going to quickly overtake you on the inside. If you’d indicated, he wouldn’t have seen the opportunity to pass and that the route was taken. It’s just a flick of your wrist – simple as that.

Red Means Stop!

We’re not usually in the business of stating the obvious, but sometimes it’s a necessity. Even if there isn’t anyone on the roads, you still need to stop for a red light. Let’s say another guy’s coming the other way, in the same mind-set, thinking the roads are empty – and you decide to put your foot down and risk the red light while he goes through the green without breaking. Neither of you see each other coming, and the combined speed of the two cars traveling toward each other could have some lethal repercussions.

 

Drive the Speed Limit

This isn’t just a note for speeders potentially causing accidents, but also a warning to slow drivers. Everyone knows that speeding increases stopping, thinking and, therefore, reaction times – but many drivers are unaware that driving too slowly can be just as dangerous if not more so. This way, you increase the risk of being rear-ended by a car travelling at the speed limit as they turn any corner you’ve already turned. If they can’t see you and they’re travelling 60 while you’re going 30, they’re going to hit you at 30mph – and in a metal box where the safety features are primarily for front-facing collisions, that’s a recipe for disaster!

Don’t Tailgate

Driving too close to other drivers is another major cause of road accidents. We all know the feeling of being stuck in gridlock on the motorway when you just want to be closer to home, but creeping unreasonably close to other drivers can be very dangerous – as a driver, you should be prioritising your reaction time whenever you’re on the road. Generally speaking, there should at all times be a gap 2 seconds long (or one yard for every mph).

Keep Children Safe

Secure children under 8 to their chairs with a car seat and have children under 12 sit in the back, even if front seat is available. The head height of a small child is much lower than an adult so, if they’re in the front and you have an accident, the airbag won’t protect them in the same way it is designed to protect an adult. Children are safer riding in the back.

Drive Defensively

Drive as if you’re driving a Ferrari – like you’re keeping an eye out for anyone getting close enough to scratch your sports car. Anyone driving too fast who may collide with you or get in your way. Even if your car is so old and broken you don’t care about it being damaged, still be as vigilant – even though you’re not protecting yourself financially, your ability to spot a hazard before it turns into an accident could be the difference between life and death. Don’t drive with a ‘who cares?’ attitude just because you don’t have a six figure car – your life is worth a lot more.

Be the Driver You Want Others to Be

Drive like a role model for all drivers to aspire to be – children learn from their parents, even to the point where your son’s driving style at 18 is affected by the way he’s watched you drive for the 10 years prior to him learning. So if you’ve got a short temper behind the wheel and an aggressive driving style, don’t give him too much grief when he starts getting tickets – he learned it all from you long before he sat in the car with an instructor.

Properly Maintain Your Vehicle

This includes tyres, oil, taking your car for tune-ups/check-ups regularly and keeping the vehicle clean. You might not think giving the car a wash is a safety point, but think about this – if you haven’t washed the dirt off your driver window in 6 months, is it going to be as transparent as a clean window? Chances are it’s not, and anything obscuring your view should be removed/repaired when you can – and when it’s as simple as getting out a bucket and sponge, you really don’t have any reason not to.

If you’re interested in buying a safer car but are worried about the cost, why not check out our loan calculator? With the Car Loan Warehouse, you could find the finance you need for a car built to meet modern safety standards – as opposed to a used car built when road safety was a bit more lax.

 

About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.