Road Safety Guide for Drivers

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Road Safety Guide for Drivers

Road accidents aren’t uncommon, unfortunately, and there are many different factors that can cause them to happen. JMW Solicitors has created this guide to provide helpful tips to drivers regarding keeping themselves and other road users safe.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Road Accidents?

According to the AA, some of the most common causes of driving accidents on the road are down to:

  • Speeding
  • The driver being distracted and taking their eyes off the road, or hands off the wheel
  • Reckless driving, such as changing lanes too quickly without alerting other road users
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving whilst tired

As a law firm, we often deal with road accidents of all different types and occurrences. However, we think it’s important that everyone knows what they can do to minimise their chances of being involved in one.

Safety Advice for Drivers

Wear Your Seatbelt

As the driver, it’s your responsibility to make sure that everyone in your car is wearing their seatbelt - especially the driver and those who are sitting in the back. In the event of a collision, a passenger sitting in the back without their seatbelt on could cause serious or even fatal injury to the driver or front passenger, as well as themselves.

Slow Down for Amber Lights

If a light turns to amber as you approach it, don’t see this as a challenge to speed up and make it through the lights. Instead, be prepared to stop and wait. It’s not worth risking running a red light as, even if you don’t end up in a serious collision, you can be fined and receive points on your licence for this dangerous act.

Stay Alert

Keeping your eyes focused on the road and regularly checking your mirrors will help you to notice any potential hazards or risks early. Always be thinking about surrounding road users and what their next move may be.

If you start to get tired whilst driving or are struggling to concentrate for whatever reason, make sure you pull over somewhere safe to rest, defer your journey, or use public transport instead.

Leave Some Space

Make sure that there is plenty of space between you and other road users. Avoid driving too closely to the rear of another vehicle, as if they break quickly this can easily result in an accident if you are unable to react quick enough.

It’s advised that you leave around two seconds worth of space between you and the next vehicle, or four seconds in adverse weather conditions, such as rain, sleet, or snow, to allow enough braking time.

Stick to Speed Limits

Speed limits are there for a reason. Remember to adhere to the given speed limits at all times, as they will help you make necessary adjustments for things such as dips in the road and approaching junctions.

Also, speed limits can change when there are road works or accidents nearby, so keep your eyes on the signs and look out for any changes.

Take your Time

By giving yourself plenty of time for your journey, you won’t be tempted to speed or have your mind elsewhere if you are running late and are stressed about making it to your destination on time. Instead, set off 10 minutes before you need to allow for general traffic and delays. On days where you expect there to be more traffic, allow even more time for your travel.

Don’t Use Your Phone

It might seem obvious, but you shouldn’t use your phone whilst driving. It’s against the law due to it being a huge distraction from your concentration on the roads.

Using a hands-free device might seem like a valid solution, but can also cause distractions, so the best possible solution would be to switch your phone off whilst driving and have your full focus on the road.

Stick With Your Radio Station

Avoid flicking through radio stations or your playlists to find songs that you like as this will require you to take a hand off the wheel and divert your attention. Instead, ask your passenger to do this for you if you have one, or, if you are driving alone, create a playlist that you are happy with before you set off.

Remember to keep the music to an acceptable level so that you can still hear the surroundings that might catch you off guard, such as a quickly approaching ambulance.

How Can a Driving Accident Affect Me?

Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience. Even if you are not injured from the accident, you might be feeling shook up and distressed; if not treated, this can eventually lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety - whether related to driving itself or just being inside a vehicle.

If you are injured during your driving accident, you might require time off work and physiotherapy or surgery to help with your injuries, and you could be left with permanent damage in more serious cases. This can often be a costly ordeal, especially if you are unable to work and are losing income during this time.

In these instances, it might be beneficial for you to make a claim for your injuries and trauma caused to you in order to help you rehabilitate faster and offset any expenses you may incur during this timeframe.

What Should You Do if You are Involved in a Driving Accident?

If you are involved in a driving accident you should stop the vehicle as soon as possible (without causing further damage) and switch off your car’s engine. Put on your hazard lights to alert other road users that there has been an accident and so that they can easily spot your vehicle before they approach the accident site.

Check yourself and your passengers for any injuries - if there aren’t any, make sure you make a note of this in case the other vehicle’s passengers try to claim for an injury. The police must be called if the accident was more serious and has caused blockage to the road. Likewise, an ambulance must be called if anyone at the scene is injured and requires medical attention.

Stay as calm as you possibly can so that you can take note of the situation and gather together any evidence you might need for making a claim later. Avoid losing your temper or admitting responsibility until you are fully aware of what happened, as this can help protect you from liability if the accident was, in fact, not your fault.

If the other vehicle leaves the scene before giving insurance details, or you believe they are driving illegally (such as without a license or under the influence of drugs or alcohol), or you think they have caused the accident deliberately, you should immediately contact the police within 24 hours to avoid any penalties to yourself.

If you wish to make a claim about your driving accident, you should seek professional legal advice to do so. An expert personal injury solicitor will be able to compile your evidence and explain to you whether you have a suitable case to move forward with in order to claim compensation for the incident.

If I Am Towing a Caravan or Trailer, What Should I Do?

In order to tow a caravan, trailer, or any other vehicle over 750kg, you will be required to pass an additional test and have evidence of this on your driving license. The maximum weight that your vehicle is able to tow will often be found in the handbook, but if it isn’t you will need to work out the towing capacity. Information on how to do this can be found online.

Make sure you’re allowing extra space for turning corners and reversing or parking, and never drive over 50mph on single carriageways or 60mph on dual carriageways.

Your number plate must be visible on the caravan or trailer and be reflective. You should also have your rear light panel in working order and visible at all times, so do check this before setting off on your journeys.

Talk to Us

If you have unfortunately been involved in a road accident whilst driving and you’d like the assistance of an expert personal injury solicitor, contact us today on 0345 872 6666, or fill in our online contact form to receive a call back. If you would like more information about making a car accident claim, click here.

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