The car is the most common road vehicle in the developed world, with over 591 million cars worldwide in 2002. Unfortunately, road crashes are the biggest single killer of young people in the UK.
Investigations have identified a number of key elements responsible for this problem: drink and drug driving, speeding, distractions inside and outside the car, lack of hazard perception/education and peer pressure.
Safety begins at home, before we even get into the car, so before setting off in your car, check that it is prime condition: check the tyres, and check all fluids are at the proper level and that you have a full tank of fuel. If you’re going on a long journey, it is wise to take a few essentials: a spare tyre, torch, blanket, a set of jump leads and spare fluids for your car.
Never drive when you’re tired. If you nod off for six seconds whilst driving at 70 mph, you will travel more than 200 metres. Make sure you have had a good night’s sleep before setting off on any long journeys, and have something to eat. Make sure you stop every few hours for a break to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. You could grab a snack or have a nap, and if you have someone with you, sharing the driving will give you time to rest. Concentration, especially on busy motorways, is made more difficult when tired and hungry.
Be aware of what other drivers are doing and anticipate their intentions, allowing you to react safely. Keep your distance and remember the two-second rule.
If you have young people using your car, you may want to use vehicle tracking, such as that available from http://www.vehicle-accessories.net/Vehicle-Tracking, and be aware of where they are at all times.
Check your map and work out your journey before setting off; be aware of any roadworks so that you can divert and not get held up in traffic. Be aware of speed limits when going through unknown towns and villages. Maintaining a steady speed will minimise your fuel usage.
Think carefully and ask yourself if you are safe to drive. Any amount of alcohol or drugs impairs your driving ability, and you could be banned from driving or get a custodial sentence if caught.