Make a Pledge – Put Safety First, Every Time You Drive

No one sets out to be a negligent driver, but as time passes, we often forget or no longer bother with the small details we learnt to enable us to pass our driving test.

How many accidents could be avoided, how many lives saved, if we paid more attention to the way we drive?

Make a pledge to yourself and put safety first, every time you drive.

Seat beltSeatbelts

Not just you but every passenger, front and back should wear a seatbelt for their own safety and yours. Rear passengers can kill passengers in front as they are thrown forward on impact. The law states that you must wear a seatbelt if one is fitted in the vehicle seat you're using and that only one person may occupy a seat fitted with a seat belt. Children must use a car seat appropriate for their weight until they reach either their 12th birthday or 135cm tall.

Head restraints

Head restraints can prevent whiplash injuries and even broken necks, but they should be set at the correct height for maximum effectiveness. If possible, fix the restraint level with the top of your head and angled so there is not a large gap between your head and the restraint.

Drive slower

Did you know, approximately two thirds of all crashes happen in areas where there is a 30mph speed limit? Excessive speed accounts for 24% of fatal collisions. 15% of collisions resulting from speeding cause serious injury.

Reduce your speed in built up areas. Always drive within the speed limit. Even a small reduction in speed can give you greater stopping distance and help you avoid an accident.

Country roads

Although death rates on country roads are falling, more fatalities still occur on rural roads than on urban ones.

Slow down on bends, make allowances for horses or tractors and never overtake unless you have excellent visibility on a straight stretch of road and you’re certain that it’s safe.

Keep your distance

Remember your braking distances? If not, just bear this handy tip in mind: keep at least two seconds distance between you and the car in front. In wet weather you’d be wise to double that.

Take a break

Don’t drive for too long without a break – pull over every couple of hours. A shot of caffeine, some fresh air, a walk or even a short snooze might refresh you before you get back behind the wheel.

Shut out distractions

Give the road your full attention. Put your mobile phone on mute and put it out of reach where you won’t be tempted to check text messages etc. Play music at a lower volume and don’t encourage too much conversation or noise from passengers.

Be aware

Many accidents happen when drivers just aren’t observant enough. Check blind spots and mirrors for cyclists and motorbikes when you change lanes, at junctions and traffic lights.

And speaking of being observant, make sure you have your eyes tested regularly. If you need to wear glasses or contacts when you drive, make sure you do.

Wise up

Do you know when you’re driving in a potentially dangerous situation? Visibility is reduced at night, in fog, snow, heavy rain or when you have bright sunlight in your eyes. Make allowances for the conditions, slow down and leave more space between you and the car in front.

When not to drive at all

If you’ve had alcohol or taken drugs, don’t drive. Not sure if you’ve exceeded the drink drive limit? Don’t drive!

If you’re very tired, feeling angry, stressed, or agitated about something, don’t drive.

Car maintenance

Accidents can be caused by poorly maintained cars, so always make sure your vehicle has a current MOT and do regular maintenance checks on tyres tread, tyre pressure, lights and engine oil. As your car gets older, an annual service becomes even more important.

Become a better driver

Sometimes you don't need more training to become a better driver; very often, the difference is in the detail, in common sense, observation and an awareness of the implications of everything you do as a driver. If you're a new driver, though, why not consider taking the Pass Plus driving course, or contact a local driving school - many offer refresher courses for both new and experienced drivers.

Make a pledge to yourself - always put safety first.

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