Are you a safe driver?
Have you ever thought about what you shouldn’t do while driving?
Do you know what should be avoided while driving?
How do you become a safer driver?
It is national road safety week this week, and at Keytek we are committed to keeping our customers safe in and out of the home. We aim to discuss what should be avoided while driving, how you can become a safer driver and driving safety tips. All statistics from www.think.direct.gov.uk
Speed is one of the main factors in fatal road accidents. The speed of any given road is a limit, not a target, weather conditions and traffic flow will affect what speed you should be travelling at. Even if a road has a speed limit of 60mph, driving at that speed on a dark foggy night is dangerous; common sense should tell you that you should be driving slower than 60mph.The law states that you must not drive faster than the speed limit for the type of road and your vehicle type. The speed limit is an absolute maximum and doesn’t mean that it is safe to drive at the maximum speed in all conditions. This is especially true on country roads, which have blind bends and may have animals in the road. The limit for most of these roads is 60mph, but you will need to drive under that to be safe in the conditions. On average on these types of roads is 48mph.
Did you know?
- The risk of death is four times higher when a pedestrian is hit at 40mph than at 30.
- In 2013, 3,064 people were killed or seriously injured in crashes where speed was a factor.
So next time you are running late for work and your speedometer is nearing 40mph in a 30 zone, think about the consequences of an accident, or hitting a pedestrian.
Studies have shown that drivers do not fall asleep without warning. Fighting off drowsiness by opening a window or turning the radio up, will not work for long. 20% of major accidents on major roads are sleep related. So, what can you do to stop yourself being involved in a sleep related RTC? The government suggests planning a 15 minute break every two hours of a long journey. Find a service station and sit down for 15 minutes with a drink or something to eat, or stretch your legs with a short walk, it could save your life. You must never start a long journey if you are already tired, this is just asking for trouble. If you are already on a long trip and start to feel sleepy, you need to pull over somewhere safe (not the hard shoulder of the motorway). Try and drink two cups of coffee or a caffeine drink, then rest for 15 minutes to allow the caffeine to work. However the only real cure for sleepiness is a proper sleep. Coffee, other caffeine drinks and a short nap are NOT long term solutions and you will only allow you to keep driving for a short time.
Did you know?
- Men under 30 have the highest risk of falling asleep at the wheel
- Peak time for accidents are in the early hours and after lunch
So next time you feel your eyes start to droop while driving, pull over as soon as possible, don’t risk your life and the lives of others.
In this day and age, we shouldn’t have to warn you about drink driving. You’ve seen all the warnings and anyone who thinks it’s ok to drink drive shouldn’t have a licence. But how much of the facts and statistics do you actually know?
There are strict alcohol limits for UK drivers:
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the legal alcohol limit for drivers is:
- 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
- 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
- 107 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine
However, you cannot use this to judge how much alcohol you can drink and still be under the limit, as you weight, age, sex and metabolism can change the way alcohol affects you. So it’s always better to be safe than sorry, when it comes to drinking and driving. Stick to lemonade if you are the designated driver.
There are very strict penalties if you are convicted of drink driving;
- A minimum 12 month driving ban
- A criminal record
- A hefty fine
- Up to 6 months in prison
- An endorsement on your licence for 11 years
If this list doesn’t put you off drink driving, then the everyday consequences of having a drink drive conviction might. These can include, increased insurance costs, trouble going on holiday to places like the USA, struggle to gain employment, termination of current employment and the loss of your licence means a loss of independence.
It’s not just the night of you have to worry about when drinking. You could still be over the legal limit the morning after. A shower, sleep and coffee will not sober you up, only time can do that. There is no excuse for drunk driving, alcohol effects everyone’s driving for the worse, and it doesn’t matter if you are ‘only going down the road’ as a large number of drink driving incidents happen within the first three miles of the journey.
If you are not wearing a seat belt and crash, you are TWICE as likely to sustain a fatal injury. The consequences of not wearing your seatbelt are larger than just getting points on your license. In the worst cases it can mean death. The most common injury in a head on collision, for an unrestrained person, is severe head and facial injuries, as well as major damage to the chest, pelvis, legs and feet.
If you are not wearing a seatbelt, then you are breaking the law. If you are caught driving without a seatbelt, then you can face an on the spot fine of £100 and if prosecuted the maximum fine is £500.
The bottom line is where your seatbelt, if you don’t, you are more likely to die. If you want more information on seatbelt safety and videos on what can happen if you don’t wear your seatbelt visit think.direct.gov.uk/seat-belts.html
Phones are getting smarter and more powerful every year, and most of us would admit that we are a bit obsessed with our phones. However, this is having a detrimental effect on driving. 23% of drivers have admitted to using a handheld mobile at the wheel to make a call or text within the past 12 months and 12% of people have admitted to checking texts, email or social media at the wheel. You may think that looking at your phone for just a second is harmless, but any time that your attention is not on the road is dangerous, a glance at your phone is all it takes to miss a hazard.
Within UK law, it is illegal to use a handheld mobile while driving; this includes using your mobile to follow a map, read a text or to check social media. This does not change when you are stuck in traffic or stopped at traffic lights. If you are caught using a mobile in your car, then you will receive 6 points on your licence and a fine of £200. Many people don’t know that it also illegal to use a mobile phone while supervising a learner driver. Research shows that you are 4 times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone in the car, and it also shows that your reaction times are two times slower if you text and drive than if you drink drive. A statistic which may shock you.
The best course of action is to leave your phone in your bag, or somewhere you cannot see it, if you know you will get distracted. Or you can purchase a hands free device however, if you use your phone for navigation and if this distracts you and negatively affects you driving, then you can still be prosecuted by the police.
It is so important to keep yourself safe while on the road. While you can’t control the behavior of others, you can take steps to ensure your own safety. Don’t drive over the speed limit, don’t drink drive and don’t use your mobile phone, being simple examples of this. For more information on staying safe while driving visit think.direct.gov.uk/
To find more info on vehicle safety, then read our other blogs;