Staying Safe

We have to deal with what the weather can throw at us such as the low sun in the sky making it very difficult to see or the torrential wind and rain we have been experiencing. Roads seem to be getting busier with more congestion outside the traditional rush hours.

So what can we do to help ourselves stay safe when we are driving?

How about staying well back from the vehicles in front of us. This has lots of advantages. The further back you are the more time you create to be able to react to what the car in front is doing. For example, if the driver in front brakes suddenly then you have more time to stop, reducing the risk of running into the back of them. 

The further back you are the more time you create to be proactive.  For example,  not only can you stop in time if the vehicle in front brakes suddenly, but you are more likely to have already seen the problem well ahead and started to slow down and change position to manage whatever the risk was. You find yourself coming off the gas and slowing down gradually rather than having to brake hard. Your driving becomes smoother and you could save yourself some money as you become more eco-friendly. There is also less risk of you being hit from behind.

Why wouldn't you stay well back? Take a few moments to think about some of your recent car journeys. Can you remember how close you were to the vehicle in front? Hopefully you were well back. However, if you were having to brake every time the vehicle in front braked and you found yourself having to watch for brake lights and react to what the driver in front was doing you were probably too close. Did being so close get you to your destination any quicker? Trying holding back and, with practice, see if it reduces your stress.

Use the 2 second rule as a minimum guide. See the Highway Code.

Stick to the speed limit.  Constantly check your speed and correct it if you find yourself over the speed limit because you have been distracted as your mind wonders, during a conversation or listening to the radio.  If you find yourself consistently over the speed limit, even by a couple of miles and hour, ask yourself why and come up with your own solutions to stop this from happening.  For example, try to concentrate on the driving task and not thinking about everything other than driving. Turn the radio down and ask passengers not to distract you. At the very least be aware of what distracts you so you can start to do something about it.

Speeding can kill. Everyone makes mistakes, including speeding even if we try our best to stay within the speed limit. If you find yourself occasionally creeping over the limit then do something about it. Think why and come up with your own solutions. If you constantly miss changes in speed limits, every time you enter a new road look for traffic signs telling you there is a  change in the limit. If your speed creeps up consider using a lower gear such as 3rd in a 30 mph limit, or use cruise control or speed limiters. Read the advice in the Highway Code and driving the essential skills. 

If you are constantly speeding and pushing the boundaries because the speed limit does not apply to you, get a grip, and stop being socially irresponsible. Next time you are 2 feet behind the back bumper of the vehicle in front because the other driver is driving at 30 mph think! Are you going to get to where you are going any quicker? What if the driver in front of you, the one you are trying to intimidate,  has just passed their driving test, how are they feeling and how are they going to react to you?  What if they were your son or daughter? 

Constant speeding, contrary to some beliefs, does not show skilled driving. Think about it for a second: you can't even stick to a speed limit! Speeding demonstrates a lack of driving skill, a lack of awareness and a lack of ability to drive.  

1. Stay well back

2. Stay within the speed limit