Whether you drive long distances regularly, commute frequently or only use your vehicle once in a while, road safety is something you should always be mindful of. As well as ensuring that your car is in tip-top condition, you also have to be aware of the actions of other road users.
Not everyone drives with care and attention, so you should always be alert and conscious of things going on around you.
To help you reach your destination safely, we’ve put together 8 driving tips that should help to keep you safe on the roads.
Check your tire treads
Your tire treads help keep your vehicle firmly fixed to the roads, particularly during inclement weather, so checking them is a must. You can do this using a tire tread gauge, or if you don’t have one, you can use a penny or a quarter instead.
If the tread is worn, your car will lose its grip, and you could end up losing control of your vehicle, so you must be mindful of this. If you aren’t sure how to check your treads, there are many helpful tutorials online.
Is your tire pressure at the correct level?
Both over and under-inflated tires are a danger on the roads, so if you haven’t checked them in a while, we recommend you do so asap. Improper inflation can result in uneven or excessive wear, which is both dangerous and can result in a frequency in tire replacement. Under-inflated tires can lead to a flat or a blowout which could cause mayhem on a busy road or motorway.
It’s recommended that you check your tire pressure once a month or more frequently if you do excessive amounts of driving.
Car seat safety
If you have young children, you will probably have car seats installed in your vehicle, but did you know that an overwhelming number are incorrectly fitted? According to Lamber Goodnow Injury Lawyers, a common installation error occurs when a child safety seat is used using a seat belt alone. This can allow the car seat to move too far forward in the event of a rear-end collision or other crash, which can result in head or neck injuries. If your vehicle has car seat anchors, use these as well as a seatbelt, and your child will be far safer.
As well as ensuring the seat is installed correctly, it’s also crucial to make sure that it is the right car seat commensurate with your child’s weight and height. If you are at all unsure, do some online research or take advice from a car seat specialist.
Keep the kids entertained
Traveling with kids can be stressful and can lead to a break in concentration and focus, so you will want to keep them occupied as much as possible so you can keep your eyes on the road.
There are lots of fun games you can play, or if your trip is particularly lengthy, why not pack a DVD player or tablet so they can watch a movie or some of their favorite shows? It will help to keep them quiet and give you a bit of a break too.
Windshield wash and wipers
Keeping your windshield clean and free of dirt and debris is very important when driving and especially crucial during the winter months. There will be times where you need to clean your windshield while on the move, so if your water and washing fluid isn’t topped up, it could be a disaster. Water can freeze very quickly, so use a cleaning fluid with a built-in anti-freeze instead.
Many people overlook the importance of windshield wipers, so if yours are a bit worse for wear or are not clearing your windshield as they should be, have them replaced. They don’t cost a lot and are pretty easy to fit, so there’s no excuse for not switching them out with new ones.
Traveling long distances
If you intend to drive long distances, it’s a good idea to check your route before you go. Having a rough idea of where you are going will make your journey far safer and allow you to plan things such as fuel and refreshments pit stops. Using a satellite navigation system or app is also a good idea and will stop you from getting lost and provide you with a good indication of how long your route is likely to take.
Make sure you take refreshments such as water and snacks with you as if you get stuck in traffic, it could be long enough before you can find anywhere to pull over. Another good idea if you are traveling with passengers is to pack some blankets. You never know what might happen on a long-distance road trip, so being prepared is important.
Don’t drink and drive
It should, of course, go without saying, but you might be surprised at how many people continue to do it. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is not only silly but could lead to a fatal accident and change your life forever.
You might think that one or two drinks won’t matter, but it could still impair your concentration and ability to drive competently. Not only could you hurt yourself or a member of your family, but you could cause fatal injuries to other innocent road users. Say no to any alcohol or other mind-altering substances and stay alert on the road.
Don’t use your mobile phone
You may be eager to answer a text or check social media to see what your friends have been up to, but it’s such a bad idea. It takes seconds to lose control of the wheel and cause a road traffic accident, so leave your phone alone until it’s safe to use it.
If you want to make a call, do so using an in-car voice activation system. Thousands of people are killed or injured every year as a result of using a mobile – don’t become another statistic.