March 25, 2019

Are You Driving Safely?

Tips For Safe Driving

Driving is one of life’s pleasures for many people around the world. After all, it gives you the freedom to go anywhere, anytime, whilst also allowing you to build your confidence and experience on the roads. Ultimately, this means that you’ll no longer need to rely on public transport to get around. However, it’s important to remember that you have a safe driving responsibility, whether you’ve been driving for years or have only just passed your driving test.

With that in mind, there are certain things you need to consider every time you get behind the wheel. First and foremost, you should always do everything in your power stay on the right side of the law. Otherwise, you could find yourself receiving a fine, have your license revoked, and in the most extreme circumstances, end up behind bars.

By taking into consideration the tips outlined here, you’ll be able to enjoy your time in the driver’s seat while fully complying with driving legislation. At the same time, you can ensure the safety of yourself, your passengers, and fellow road users.

But are you safe to drive? Find out everything you need to know about staying safe whilst driving. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Driving Skills and Experience
  • The Relationship Between Health and Driving
  • Driving Awareness and Environments
  • Vehicle Familiarity and Maintenance
  • Things to Avoid When Driving
  • Final Thoughts

Driving Skills and Experience

Generally, young drivers are among some of the most inexperienced behind the wheel. At the same time, however, there are many older people who are either lacking in confidence or perhaps are suffering from health issues, which we’ll investigate later.

According to the road safety charity Brake, a fifth of all drivers killed or seriously injured on our roads are between the ages of 17 and 24. So, it’s particularly crucial for inexperienced drivers to be consciously aware of their surroundings, avoid any distractions, and stay alert to avoid any potential hazards.

Building up your confidence and experience should be high on your priority list when it comes to driving. This means that you’re likely to become a far more competent road user as the years go by. The main thing is that you’ll need to should never let your ego get in the way of your ability to drive safely and proficiently.

If you haven’t been driving for a while, you might benefit from refresher lesson. A quick reminder can brush up your driving skills and experience in a safe environment, to get you back to your best.

The Relationship Between Health and Driving

Various health issues such as diabetes, glaucoma, and cataracts all  may affect your ability to drive safely in one way or another. Similarly, some medication states that you shouldn’t drive while taking it, due to the possible drowsiness it could create.

It is always worth consulting your GP just to be on the safe side. Regular eye testing is also highly recommended so that potential sight problems can be picked up and treated as early as possible. Regular tests also ensure that your vision is at its most optimal level.

While there is no legal requirement to stop driving at a certain age, there comes a time for everyone when reactions are slower and changes in health could potentially impact driving safety.

You must inform the DVLA if you are diagnosed with diabetes or other conditions which may affect your driving.

Driving Awareness and Environments

All drivers play a part in ensuring the safety of themselves and other road users. This last category includes cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and horse riders.

Bike road safety week

Many injuries and fatalities on the road have occurred needlessly as a result of not checking blind spots and careless driving. So, be sure to take extra care particularly when using junctions and overtaking.

If you are going to be driving in an unfamiliar area, it’s always worth planning ahead as much as possible. Not having prior knowledge of the road systems in a certain area will mean you’ll need to pay more attention to road signs and perhaps get directions from a passenger or on a sat nav.

It always pays to plan your route as much as possible prior to your journey.

Vehicle Familiarity and Maintenance

Particularly for new drivers, vehicle familiarity is of paramount importance. Not having the correct prior awareness could lead to you making an error of judgement while out on the road. Therefore, it is always worth getting familiar with the controls of your car before taking it out for the first time.

The same goes for when you get a new car – even if you are a seasoned driver with many years of experience behind the wheel. Every car layout is different and pays to take the time to familiarise yourself with yours, to ensure you can drive it safely and appropriately.

Keeping your vehicle in good condition also helps safe driving. Not doing so could lead to a potentially dangerous mechanical failure out on the road.

All vehicles in the UK over three years old require a valid MOT to be able to use them on the roads. Don’t just rely on that check-up through the following year, though. Regular servicing might also be a worthwhile investment, as this can identify any potential defects before they become major problems

Topping up your washer fluid, changing the oil, and keeping tyres inflated to the necessary level are all prime examples of basic maintenance, with each of them essential for safe driving.

Vehicle Maintenance Checks Infographic

Things to Avoid When Driving

The following section will delve deeper into some of the most common issues which could pose a risk to yourself and other road users alike.

You should aim to keep distractions to an absolute minimum when you are driving. Common distractions include:

  • eating and drinking
  • smoking
  • interaction with passengers
  • unsecured pets
  • mobile phones, even on hands-free

If you happen to be driving late at night, the chances are you might be feeling a little tired. The same goes for when you have had a long day at work, or perhaps you didn’t get much sleep the night before. Either way, you should always attempt to seek an alternative mode of transport or delay your journey if possible, as you will most definitely not be at your driving best if you feel tired. Driving whilst tired or sleepy can be a killer – it really isn’t worth it!

tired driver

Never drive if you’ve been drinking alcohol or using non-prescription drugs. Getting behind the wheel under the influence of drink or drugs is not only illegal, it also reduces your awareness, slows reaction times and puts you and those around you at serious risk. Play it safe and get a taxi or a lift home if you’ve had one too many!

Final Thoughts

By this point, you should hopefully be aware of exactly what it takes to safeguard yourself and other road users when driving. It’s clear to see that age, experience, and your health can all contribute to safe driving in one way or another. Be sensible, be honest with yourself and stay safe on the roads.