What Can Drivers Do To Help Prevent Road Accidents?

31st August 2021 Personal Injury

Road traffic accidents have risen in frequency since the UK came out of lockdown, with more people back on the roads every day. On average, five people are killed on UK roads every day, with a further 60 sustaining serious injuries, but these numbers fell significantly with fewer people on the roads during the height of the pandemic.

But is staying inside and off the roads the only way to prevent accidents? Transportation is a vital part of everyday life and it’s impractical to think that this is the best way to keep road users safe. Instead, there are many things drivers themselves can do to reduce the risk of an incident when they get behind the wheel. In light of this, JMW is encouraging everyone to think about what they can do to help road accident prevention and stay safe on the roads.

Check your car

It’s so important to be aware of the condition your car is in before you embark on a long journey, so check it over before you set off. It may seem fine, but even if you’re a confident and experienced driver, an unexpected mechanical problem can easily lead to an accident. It’s best to know about any potential faults with your car and address them before a journey, which you can do by giving the vehicle a comprehensive check.

You should:

  • Check the tyre pressure and tread depth
  • Make sure your brakes and brake lights are working
  • Test all the seatbelts 
  • Open the bonnet and check fluid levels throughout the engine
  • Have your car serviced regularly

Road accident prevention is important to keep in mind if you’re the driver, as you have a duty of care to keep your passengers safe. If you are in an accident and it’s determined to be your fault, your own passengers might be able to pursue a claim against you, as well as the other people involved. Therefore, it’s best to take extra care to ensure accidents are prevented.

Make sure you’re fit to drive

It’s not just your vehicle that needs to be in the best possible state to drive. The driver also needs to be in tip-top shape before they get behind the wheel. This doesn’t just mean not driving when you’re tired, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol; it also means not driving when you’re in an agitated or emotional state, not driving when you don’t feel well, and staying calm while you drive so that you don’t succumb to road rage.

Staying calm behind the wheel goes hand in hand with good behaviours that drivers should stick to, like keeping your distance from the car in front, driving slowly and cautiously, and avoiding overtaking when it’s not safe to do so. It also means paying attention to the road at all times. Conversations with passengers or on the phone, or even adjusting the radio, can be a distraction that takes attention away from the road - sometimes with unfortunate or even tragic consequences.

Speeding, alcohol and drugs, and distractions are three of the most common causes of road traffic accidents and are so easy to avoid by drivers who want to make the roads safer. Instead of speeding, leave yourself a little more time to reach your destination - it’s really that simple.

Know the risks

If you really want to avoid road traffic accidents, it’s best to know the kinds of risks you might face on the roads. For example, accidents are more likely at night or in bad weather, so if you can’t avoid driving at these times you should at least be aware that you should take more care. You might decide to plan your route more deliberately, and include rest breaks so that you don’t fall asleep at the wheel.

You should also be aware of vulnerable road users at all times, even if you think you are unlikely to encounter them. Vulnerable road users include:

  • Cyclists
  • Disabled people
  • Horse riders
  • Mobility scooter users
  • Motorcyclists
  • Pedestrians

If you want to avoid and prevent road traffic accidents, you need to remember that there are many possible types of accidents, and driving safely is not just about keeping yourself and your passengers safe. You should also be aware of the most common injuries caused by accidents and how you can treat them with first aid.

Be a safe passenger

As a passenger, your actions can also help in road traffic accident prevention. Distractions like conversations or music, both of which could be down to the passenger, are leading causes of accidents, so even if you’re not driving, you can help avoid an incident. This is also true on public transport; it’s best not to talk to a bus driver during a journey because there is a risk of accidents when the driver is distracted.

Legally, it is the driver’s responsibility to keep everyone safe and as a passenger, you can’t be liable for causing an accident; but you can still distract a driver and make an accident more likely. Be aware of how your behaviours might draw a driver’s attention away from the road, and help them to keep you and any other passengers out of harm’s way.

Talk to Us

If you’ve been involved in a road accident that wasn’t your fault, contact our team of helpful solicitors today on 0800 054 6570, or fill in our online enquiry form and we’ll get back to you 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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