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Tips For Safer Driving

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 29 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Safe Driving Safer Driving Sleep

Probably the most under-rated of driving distractions, driving while tired can be extremely dangerous.

In fact 20% of the accidents that happen on the UK's motorways occur because a driver has fallen asleep at the wheel.

Not having enough sleep has been proven in some cases to be as detrimental to a driver's driving ability as drinking alcohol - reaction times are seriously lengthened when you are tired. With 1 in 5 crashes on the motorway being caused by tired and sleepy drivers, it is something that we should take more notice of. Driving tired can turn otherwise responsible motorists into dangerous drivers in a very short space of time.

To avoid this happening you should follow these tips where possible:

1. Only drive 100 miles at a time. If you need to go further, stop off and have a break - have a light meal and drink coffee, tea or other caffeinated drinks.
2. Learn and be able to recognise the signs of tiredness
3. Listen to talk radio or audio books - you'll know your concentration has lapsed if you've missed a chunk of the story or debate.
4. Finally, don't rely on driving with your window down to keep you awake - it's unlikely to be effective.

How to Safely Deal With Queues

  • Leave a good sized gap when you're at the back of a queue.
  • If the queue is hidden from the traffic following on by a bend or a bridge or similar, you should consider stopping further back, even if it is further back than the queue ends - then move forward when you know the following traffic has seen you.
  • Keep your foot on the brake and be ready to use your hazards if you need to - to make sure that you are seen.

Safer Driving on Motorways:

Keep your distance - when travelling on a motorway, drivers should leave a larger gap between vehicles than on other roads because generally, they will be driving faster - increasing the necessary stopping distance. The correct stopping distance can be the difference between having an accident and reaching your destination safely. Bear this in mind when driving and always respect stopping distances - erring on the side of caution rather than risk.

Keep yourself visible - large vehicles can make it difficult to see what's coming up ahead so if this happens, you need to change lanes or drop back a bit so that you can see what's going on further up the road.

Don't hog the middle lane - the middle and right lanes are overtaking lanes and that means that a soon as you have overtaken another vehicle, you should move back in again. Hogging the middle lanes will cause congestion and make traffic worse.

Don't get blasé about speed - while driving on motorways, keep checking you're within the legal limit - if you have cruise control, the motorway is a good place to use it.

Country Lanes

Remote country roads are narrow and some will not be wide enough for more than one car so you might have to give way to oncoming traffic. In these areas there are usually designated passing places for use in these circumstances.

Drive slowly and keep to the indicated/appropriate speed limit.

Don't drive too close to horse riders or tractors. Leave lots of room if you are thinking of overtaking.

Driving in the City

  • Your speed can make the difference between life and death in an accident - which is why urban areas have lower speed limits - there are more hazards, junctions, pedestrians etc. Drive slowly and carefully.
  • Rear-ending the car in front is a common accident in cities and large towns. It will most probably be classed as your fault if you do this, so it's in your interests to make sure that you are observing at least the 2 second rule at all times. Don't see the opportunity to nip into a gap that someone has left for safety either.
  • Be alert for school areas and don't park on the marked area outside them. Watch out for children running across the road without looking.
  • Look for pedestrians crossing a road you are turning into it. They have right of way.
  • If you park on a road at night, it is an offence to do so facing the oncoming traffic. You must park in the direction traffic is flowing in unless you are parked on the highway in a recognised parking space.
  • Be wary of cyclists, pedestrians and bikers. Let them pass if you can and make sure there isn't one next to you when you're about to open your car door and leave room for them to pass you at junctions.
Safe driving!

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