While we know that you do everything you can to ensure that you are safe when driving, there are always extra tips and tricks that you can make note of to make your journey safer.
We obviously want you to be as safe as possible on the road, so in this article, we are going to be giving you some top tips for safe motoring including when you are driving and how to take care of your car to ensure that it is in tip-top shape to keep you safe.
OSV’s top tips for safe motoring
Watch your speed
While this is obvious, it can be easy for your speed to creep up when you aren’t concentrating or you are on a familiar road. However, keeping an eye on your speed is one of the best ways to keep yourself safe when you are on the road.
Make sure you are aware of the speed limit of every road you are on, especially if you turn off onto another road as they might not have the same speed limit as the one you were just on.
The speed limit is a limit it’s not a target, and it should be up to you whether you should be going that limit or not. For example, many country roads are the national speed limit which is 60mph. However, country roads can often be windy, one lane and can be subject to poor conditions. Therefore, it is your call as to whether you go 60mph or slower. Often country roads call for you to drive much slower, particularly if it is dark, the weather is bad or the roads are in a poor condition. This includes looking out for potholes, ice, water as well as mud that has been left behind from tractors.
If you are on the motorway you should always match your speed with the vehicles in the first lane when driving. The on-ramp is usually 70mph so you have until the end of the on-ramp to increase your speed to 70mph otherwise other drivers will have to brake to allow you on the motorway. Obviously, if the motorway traffic isn’t going 70mph then you don’t have to get up to that speed so you should just match the speed at which the motorway traffic is travelling.
When you are driving in built up areas such as neighbourhoods, then you should always be aware of your speed. Villages tend to have lower speed limits and often stricter penalties if you are caught speeding, so you will have to be extra careful when travelling through villages. This can often be difficult because you may have come off a country road so you may have to reduce your speed rapidly.
It is often assumed that street lights mean 30mph but this isn’t always the case, sometimes the speed limit is reduced to 20mph in these areas. Even if it is 30mph, it is often safer to travel at 20mph in these areas as there could be children in the area.
Expect the unexpected
Accidents often occur close to home, when you are on a road that you are familiar with. This is because we get distracted and we relax. We know the road, we know where we’re going and we know the road so well we sort of go into auto-pilot. This can be dangerous because if something happens that we aren’t expecting, it can cause an accident.
Therefore, you should always expect the unexpected. When you are on country roads, you should be prepared to encounter tractors, horses, cyclists and other road users. When you are in the city you should always be aware of cyclists, buses and bus lanes as well as pedestrians who might be in a hurry and aren’t following the Green Cross Code.
If you are driving on the motorway then you should always be aware of the vehicle in front and behind you as well as vehicles in the other lanes.
If you are always alert and expect the unexpected then you will be able to act accordingly should something happen. That way you can avoid accidents and keep you and your passengers as well as other drivers safe.
Watch the weather
In the UK you can experience all four seasons in one day, our weather is ever changing and it changes fast. This means you have to constantly adapt your driving to the weather conditions.
For example, you could be cruising down a country lane at 60mph on a beautiful summers day, only to put the roof up and slow down considerably to prepare for the impending downpour not five minutes later. The weather can change the condition of the roads in minutes and this can make driving very dangerous. You constantly have to assess the roads, your speed and whether you will be in control of your vehicle in the current weather conditions. Adapting your driving and assessing your ability and your vehicles ability in the current weather conditions can prevent accidents and keep you safe when on the roads.
This sounds like terrible advice, but it is important when it comes to keeping safe on the road. Driving can be stressful. Traffic, road works, closed roads and other drivers doing careless things can all lead to you becoming stressed. This can lead to dangerous and reckless driving or to you being distracted when on the road.
Stress and road rage can do awful things to us and can cause us to make mistakes that wouldn’t have happened if we were calmer.
If you start a journey expecting there to be obstacles and things that may slow your journey down then you will be able to manage your stress levels should the situation arise. Practice keeping calm and know your triggers for road rage or stress and understand how to overcome them.
Know what to do in the event of a breakdown
Knowing what to do should you breakdown can keep you and your passengers safe.
Breaking down isn’t ideal and no one wants to be in that situation. However, knowing what to do can prevent any injuries or accidents.
Look after your car
Looking after your car and keeping it in tip top shape can prevent accidents and keep you safe on the road. There are so many ways you can keep your car in good shape including;
- Maintaining your wheels and tyres
- Clean the brake dust off
- Check the tread depth
- Check for wear and tear
- Keeping an eye on your engine
- Check and replace your oil levels
- Check the coolant
- Check your air filter
- Looking after your car battery
- This includes keeping it clean and perhaps investing in a battery charger
- Keeping your car clean overall
- Clean at the right time of day such as in the morning or late-afternoon
- Remove grime before you wash
Hopefully this has given you some tips for safe motoring. The main thing to keep safe when out on the road is to watch your speed and to expect the unexpected. This is particularly the case on familiar roads as it is easy to relax on these roads and see your speed creep up or to get distracted. This could lead to an accident that was very easily avoidable. Keeping your car in good shape will also help with keeping you safe so by looking after your car you will also keep you and your family safe.
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