Tips for Safer Driving

There are a number of points to take note of before and during your journey that will help you and your passengers to arrive at your destination safe and sound. The following good driving habits are mostly common sense but some are law.

Toyota AYGO, exterior Blue, back view, driving shot with a 30 miles per hour sign on display, animated outdoors background.

Drive at the appropriate speed for the road typeKeeping to a sensible speed is one of the most important aspects of driving safely. To avoid an accident, it is important to drive at a speed that is appropriate for the road and the conditions. Sometimes, this will be significantly lower than the speed limit.

For example, many accidents occur on rural roads, often with limited visibility and narrow lanes, so driving below the speed limit in these circumstances will keep you safer. Remember the speed limit is a maximum, not a target.

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Never drink and driveUnder no circumstances should you ever drink and drive. Driving after drinking reduces your reaction time and will make you a threat to yourself and others.

If you are planning to drink alcohol, plan how to get home without driving. Options include agreeing on a designated driver, saving a taxi number to your phone, or finding out about public transport routes and times before you go out.

Also beware of the ‘morning after’. You could be over the legal limit many hours after your last drink, even if it is the ‘morning after’. Sleep, coffee and cold showers don’t help you to sober up – time is the only way to get alcohol out of your system.

Close-up of a person holding on to a steering wheel, animated background.

Don’t use a mobile phone while drivingTalking, texting or browsing on a mobile phone can distract you from the task of driving. It is illegal to use your phone when driving if you hold the phone at any point during its use.

Although hands-free/Bluetooth devices are legal if you do not have to touch the phone, it is still recommended that you pull over to a safe location whenever you need to make or receive a call.

Close-up of an unattached seat belt.

Always wear a seatbeltYou're twice as likely to die in a crash if you don't wear a seatbelt. So always put your seatbelt on in the front and back of a vehicle and makes sure you have the correct car seat for children too.

Toyota AYGO, exterior Blue, front view, driving shot of couple, animated background.

Concentrate on your driving not your friendsPassengers can be one of the biggest distractions when driving and they are especially dangerous for younger drivers who can be more susceptible to peer pressure.

Best advice, particularly for young and new drivers, is to keep the number of passengers in the car to a minimum, and be prepared to ask them to be quiet.

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Don’t drive when you are tiredDriving when you are tired can be as dangerous as drink driving. If you are going on a long journey, you should plan to have at least a 20 minute break every 2 and a half hours. If you ever feel tired during a journey, pull over to a safe place and have a break.

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Avoid driving at dangerous timesThere are certain times of the day and night when accidents are more likely to occur, these include between 10pm and 4am and during the evening rush hour (5-6pm). Avoiding driving during these times of day can help you to stay safe, and reduce your risk of being involved in an accident.

Toyota AYGO, exterior Blue, back view, driving shot, animated outdoors background.

Don’t be a middle-lane menaceMany of the accidents that occur on motorways are caused by drivers clogging up the middle lane. Stay to the left and only use the middle lanes for overtaking.

Published: 30 November 2015

Information correct at time of publication.

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