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Although cars and roads are now a lot safer, the number of accidents and fatalities on UK roads continues to grow, so it’s well worth following Trusted Dealers’ tips below to help stay safe behind the wheel.
Regularly maintain your vehicle
Keeping your car well maintained is not just an important way to extend your car’s life, it’s also a major safety issue. Although all drivers are required by law to get cars more than 3 years old MOT tested every year, there is still a lot of time in between when things can still go wrong. Many of these issues might seem minor but could lead to a more serious accident. For example, many accidents can be caused by improper tyre pressure or brake failure.
You may have heard the familiar term, “assume everyone else on the road is an idiot”? Perhaps this seems a little harsh, but no matter how safe you drive, you cannot control the actions of other motorists. That’s why it’s important to think ahead and prepare yourself for the unpredictable such as lane changes, sudden stops, unsignaled turns, tailgating and so on. Checking your mirrors regularly, keep an eye on side streets and always looking ahead of the car in front to see what potential hazards will help to prepare you for any potential hazard.
Remember the 2 second rule
Always keep a safe distance between yourself and the car head to allow enough time to react if the car in front makes a sudden turn or stop. The two second rule is simple. Find a stationary object on the side of the road. When the car ahead of you passes it, start counting seconds. At least two seconds should pass before your car passes the same object. If driving conditions are worse for example at night time or in bad weather, the distance should be increased to at least six seconds.
A study conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech reported that 20 per cent of all accidents have sleepiness as a contributing factor. Even if you are only feeling slightly drowsy, its important to stop your car and take a break. Taking regular breaks will ensure that you stay alert and keep any passengers safe too. If you are feeling really sleepy, find a safe place to stop and take a short nap. If you are planning on driving for a long distance, make sure you get a decent amount of sleep the night before to give you the best chance of a smooth journey.
Research has shown that for every mile per hour you drive, the likelihood of your being in an accident increases by four to five percent, with higher speeds increasing the risk much more quickly. Speed related accidents are very common, and can easily be avoided if drivers simply stick to the speed limits. For the average drive across town, driving even 10 miles faster is only going to save you a few minutes but it could increase your crash risk by as much as 50 percent. Even on long trips, the time you’ll save is inconsequential compared to the risks associated with speeding.
Mobile phones were banned from use in a car with its engine on in 2003, but there are still many motorists who use them. Researchers have found that the reaction times of people speaking or texting on their mobile phones when driving can be delayed by as much as 20 per cent. But it’s not just mobile phones which can cause accident, eating, applying make-up, turning round to small children or playing with the car stereo can all be dangerously distracting, so keep your eyes on the road.