How To Stay Safe on the Road as a New Driver

31st August 2021 Personal Injury

As a first-time driver, it can be daunting to get out on the roads initially. Without your instructor sitting by your side, it’s down to you to spot any hazards that could pose a risk to your safety and put into practice all that you have learned. 

At JMW, we take road safety seriously. That’s why we’ve compiled some tips for new drivers to help keep them safe on the roads and raise awareness of the risks that come with driving.

Keep Calm

Staying calm can often be easier said than done, especially if you are a new driver and you’re quite nervous about being on the open road on your own for the first time. 

Make sure you are awake, alert, and also relaxed before you embark on a journey in your new car. This will leave less room for mistakes that could cause detriment to you or those around you. 

You might experience unruly behaviour from drivers around you which can cause nervousness and frustration, but try not to get angry or let road rage get the better of you, as this is often the cause of accidents. 

If you feel yourself getting angry or upset whilst on the road, pull over somewhere safe and turn off the engine and gather yourself with some breathing exercises until you feel calm enough to drive again. If you feel that another driver has been reckless on the roads and could be risking the safety of those around them, report them to the police.

Check Your Vehicle Regularly

Making a habit of checking your vehicle before setting off for any signs of damage or faults that could cause hazards whilst driving will improve your chances of safety on the roads. 

Be sure to check the grip on your tyres and look for any signs of puncture or damage. Park close to a reflective surface (or ask a family member for assistance) and check that each of your lights are working correctly, as well as your car’s horn and hazard light for alerting other road users in emergency cases.

Though you won’t have to check your car’s oil and fluids as often, it’s important that you make sure you have plenty of wiper fluid and that this doesn’t run out as it helps to keep your windscreen clean and clear of dirt and debris that can cause obstructions to your view. 

Take a look at your vehicle’s manual if you notice anything that looks out of place, or if you are unsure where to find certain components. If you’re still not sure, take your car to a trustworthy garage. 

Avoid Distractions

Your hands must be on the wheel at all times when driving, and your eyes should remain on the road. Before you set off, arrange your mirrors in a way that gives you a clear view of oncoming traffic and objects surrounding you. You’ll also want to adjust your seat accordingly and attach your seatbelt before setting off too. Doing this whilst the car is in motion means that your hands won’t be on the wheel, leading you to become uncomfortable and distracted.

Don’t fiddle with your car radio and never use your phone whilst driving. If you need to answer a call or update the directions on your satnav, pull over somewhere where it’s safe to do so. It’s recommended that you turn off your phone where possible to avoid the temptation of checking it if you receive a call or message notification. Most modern mobile devices come with a ‘car mode’ setting which pauses notifications to avoid distractions and can even send out an automated response to those who call you to let them know you are driving.

Be More Cautious in Adverse Weather Conditions

When driving at night, in the rain, fog, or snow, your vision can become distorted, making it much harder to recognise the hazards around you.

Remember to allow additional time for journeys when the weather is like this, as you might be faced with increased traffic due to road users driving at slower speeds to remain safe in these conditions. You should also leave a suitable distance between you and the vehicles around you when it’s raining or snowing as this will allow more time for braking. 

If you feel that the weather conditions are too unsafe to drive in, or you’ve only been driving for a short while and you don’t feel confident enough to tackle the journey, ask a more experienced driver to take you or postpone the journey where possible. 

Have Supplies Ready

Never embark on a journey without your supplies, no matter how long or short. You should always carry your driving license, your spare emergency tyre (often located in the boot of the car), a first aid kit, a phone charger, water, and some money in case you need to use a payphone. 

Being prepared means that, in the event of an emergency, you should be able to keep yourself and your passengers safe until help arrives. 

Don’t Risk It

Taking risks is never worth it when driving. It compromises your safety and the safety of those around you. Whether you are planning on having more than one drink, or you think you can squeeze through the next junction at a red light; don’t do it. 

As a driver, you must take responsibility for your actions and those in your vehicle. Don’t give in to peer pressure or try to show off. 

By following these steps, you’ll minimise your chances of getting involved in a road accident and you will be helping to make the UK’s roads safer for all to use. 

Talk to Us

If you’d like to speak to one of our helpful solicitors about a road accident that wasn’t your fault, contact us today on 0800 054 6570, or fill in our online enquiry form and we’ll be in touch at a time that suits you. 

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Richard Powell is a Partner and Head of Department located in Manchesterin our Personal Injury department

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