If you did a survey, you’d probably find that most people would describe themselves as good drivers. Driving is a skill most of us learn at a relatively early age, but just because you’ve passed your test, doesn’t mean that you’re a brilliant driver. With the vast majority of accidents on the road occurring as a result of driver error, here are some of the most common causes of crashes and some tips to help you stay safe on the roads.
Driving at an inappropriate speed
It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, there’s a very high probability that there’s a speed limit in place. The speed limit is not there to make driving boring or increase your chances of getting frustrated behind the wheel. It’s there to reduce the risk of accidents and prevent serious injuries in the event of a crash. When you’re traveling at speed, it’s harder to control a vehicle, and the impact your car will have on another person or vehicle will be much greater than it would be if you were driving slowly. When you’re out and about, make sure you’re aware of the recommended speed, and stick to the limit. Driving too fast is very dangerous, but it’s also important not to drive too slowly. If you’re traveling at snail pace, you’re going to have traffic piling up behind you, and other drivers will get angry.
Drug and drink driving
It is illegal to take drugs and drive, and there are very strict restrictions in place when it comes to drinking and driving. If you are planning to go out for a meal or you’re meeting friends for a drink, make sure you don’t exceed the legal limit. If you think you may be tempted to drink more, arrange a lift home. If you drive when you’ve been taking drugs or drinking alcohol, this will put you and other people at risk. Your reaction times will be slower than normal, you may be unable to detect hazards, and you may take risks you would never take if you were sober. If you do cause an accident or you are pulled over by police, you may face legal action. Nobody wants to be in the situation where they’re dealing with the fallout of a crash, regardless of whether they were at fault or not. If you’ve been injured by a driver who was at fault for an accident, you may be considering claiming compensation, and you can find out more from Brown & Crouppen. If you don’t want to worry about the prospect of taking calls from legal experts or you don’t want to have other people’s injuries on your conscience, never drive when you’ve been taking drugs or drinking alcohol. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Tiredness can affect you in many different ways. It can cause you to become impatient and irritated, and it can also make it difficult to concentrate and focus. If you’re tired, you may also find that you can’t react quickly. Driving tired increases your risk of injuring yourself and other people. If you’ve had a long day or it’s getting late, and you feel drowsy, take a break. Pull over in a safe place or take a nap at a service station. Have a coffee, put the windows down and get some fresh air, and turn your music on. If you’re still struggling, don’t continue driving.
Reacting to other drivers
Many accidents occur as a result of failure on the part of a driver to react to other vehicles around them. This may include not giving enough notice when indicating or stopping, failing to give other cars space or not adjusting your speed if another car brakes suddenly. When you’re driving, keep your distance, check your mirrors and your blind spot before you change lane, slow down or pull off, and keep your eyes on the road. If you’re distracted, for example, you’re changing the radio station, talking on the phone or looking at your sat nav, this will affect your ability to respond to changes in driving conditions.
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Staying safe in adverse weather
Adverse weather can make driving difficult and dangerous even for the most experienced drivers. If you’re going out in torrential rain or thick fog, make sure you use your lights, slow down, and be prepared to pull over in a safe place if it becomes impossible to see the road ahead. Listen out for weather warnings, and if you’ve been advised not to travel, stay at home unless it’s absolutely essential that you make your journey. If you’re driving in the winter, carry warm clothes, bottled water, and snacks with you. Ensure that you have breakdown cover. It’s not just wintry weather that can pose problems for drivers. The glare of the sun can make it virtually impossible to see other cars. Carry some sunglasses with you and give other cars plenty of space.
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Are you hot headed? Do you tend to lose your temper if somebody cuts you up on a roundabout or drives too slowly in front of you? Road rage can be incredibly dangerous. Try and stay calm, focus on your own driving skills, and give yourself plenty of time to get from A to B. When you’re in a hurry, the smallest thing can stress you out.
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If somebody asked you if you were a good driver, what would you say? Before you answer this question, think carefully about your attitude behind the wheel and any bad habits you have. Are you really as good at driving as you think? Most car crashes are caused by errors made by drivers, so next time you climb into the hot seat, make sure you pay attention to the rules of the road, give other people time, stay calm, and always be vigilant. It’s not possible for every accident to be prevented, but you can reduce your risk of being involved in a crash dramatically by being a safe driver.