Keeping safe on the road this summer

Checking your car is essential, here are 10 tips to help keep you safe on the road.

  1. Check your lights are working.
  2. Check your tyres across the whole of the tyre as the inside can wear quicker than the outside. The minimum legal limit is 1.6mm across ¾ of the tyre. At this level your stopping distance is severely reduced so we would recommend changing your tyres before you reach this. 
  3. Check for any bulges or deep cuts on the outside wall of your tyres.   
  4. Make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressures. Over or under inflated tyres will cost more in fuel and wear out quicker.
  5. Check your oil and service your car regularly, new cars rely on clean oil to lubricate parts. If your oil is dirty then things will start to fail and cost you more money in the long term.
  6. Make sure your washer bottle is always topped up. The last thing you want is a smeary windscreen because you don’t have any water in your washer bottle. Not only that you can also be fined!
  7. Check your wipers, if they are smearing your windscreen, change them, you will be amazed at the difference.
  8. If carrying equipment make sure it's securely placed and not likely to fly forwards if you brake harshly or are involved in an accident.
  9. Set your Sat Nav and Radio before setting off, don’t try and do this on the move as it’s a distraction.
  10. If you have any warning light on the dash get them seen to ASAP. A RED light generally means stop and deal with it there and then. An AMBER light generally means drive with caution. Check your manual for full details. 

Driving tips to keep you and others safe

  1. When at junctions and roundabouts signal, tell other road users where you are going. A lack of signalling is one of the biggest gripes other road users have and also slows down the traffic.
  2. Look ahead and predict what the traffic is doing, if you see slower or stopped traffic, start to slow down, harsh braking and acceleration uses more fuel and puts a strain on your car.
  3. Give other slower road uses room. Cyclists are vulnerable so give them plenty of room (a minimum of 1.5m). Treat that person as if it was your best friend, son or daughter. How would you drive past them!!
  4. Be considerate to other road users.
  5. Keep your distance, don’t drive too close as you won’t have time to react if they brake suddenly. Many crash or cash fraudsters rely on this type of driving to deliberately cause an incident!

Driving on the motorway

  1. Plan your journey so you know when to join and leave the motorway. You’re far less likely to be taken by surprise when it comes to choosing the correct lane at junctions and intersections.
  2. Choose a safe speed and use the left hand lane of the motorway unless you are overtaking.
  3. Check your following distance by the ‘two second rule’. Watch the vehicle in front go past a signpost, under a bridge or past some other reference point. Then speak out: “Only a fool breaks the two second rule.” If you pass the same point before you have finished the sentence, then you are too close.
  4. Double your following distance in wet weather.
  5. Scan the road a long way ahead so that you have early sight of developing hazards.
  6. Make regular mirror checks. If you observe a fast-approaching vehicle, then take steps to move out of its way. Before changing lanes, check your mirrors and blind spots, and indicate your intention to move either left or right. Only commence the manoeuvre when you know you can complete it safely.
  7. Avoid any sort of distraction. No mobile device, no interfering with stereo or satnav, no eating or drinking. Give 100% of your attention to driving.
  8. If you are about to miss your motorway exit, don’t make last-minute risky manoeuvres to leave the motorway. Continue to the next junction and turn around, or follow the revised satnav instructions.
  9. Familiarise yourself with the rules and signs that apply to smart motorways, so that you stay safe and avoid a ticket for speeding or using a closed lane.
  10. Knowing what to do if you break down in a stretch of smart motorway is a big help for road safety. Then you will know what to do if you experience a breakdown yourself, and will also understand what’s happening if another vehicle breaks down. GEM’s recently revised ‘Motorist’s Breakdown and Emergency Guide’ leaflet now includes details of what to do on a smart motorway in an emergency.