Safe Driving Tips Everyone Should Know

Man driving straight on pathway during day time

It may be fair to say that the UK has a love affair with the automobile. Cars are the single most common mode of transport for commuting in the UK – and there are more than 2.5 million licensed in London alone. Despite the ubiquity of the car on UK roads, they are still a potentially dangerous thing – and new drivers may not be aware of the various ways in which they can make themselves – and their car – safer in the course of driving. Here are four essential tips for driving safely, and the rationale behind them.

Obey the Speed Limit

Speed limits are not an arbitrary legal requirement for drivers – though drivers found speeding are liable for a wide range of punitive measures. Speed limits are there for protection, first and foremost. The stopping distance of a car increases greatly for relatively small increases in speed; according to government guidelines, at 20mph your stopping distance is 6m, while at 30mph your stopping distance could be more than twice as long as 30mph. However, factoring in ‘thinking distance’ means you could be stopping up to 3 car lengths later even than that. In built-up areas and school zones, these distances could mean the difference between life and death for an unassuming pedestrian – making it incumbent upon you are a driver to adhere to speed limits.

Don’t Drive Impaired

When you are driving, you need to ensure you are awake, alert and on the ball. If you have been driving for an extended period of time, or you haven’t slept well before getting in the car, you might find yourself tired or even drowsy behind the wheel. Sleepiness results in lapses in concentration, making you a danger to yourself and others on the road – and if you are particularly sleepy, you could succumb to something known as microsleep. Microsleep is an extremely brief period of sleep, often a matter of seconds and sometimes even a fraction of a second – but this period of time represents a period of complete lack of control behind the wheel – and could cause an accident in the process. Another form of impairment to be avoided while driving is inebriation; driving drunk is a serious crime, with punishments including 6 months imprisonment, unlimited fines and a driving ban.

Perform Regular Safety Checks

While driver error is responsible for a majority of accidents on the road each year, there are many accidents which could have been avoided by a regular safety check on the vehicle in question. Your tyres, for example, have a legal tread depth minimum of 1.6mm; if you find yourself close to that threshold, you will want to replace them with cheap fitted tyres from a retailer. Oil checks are also crucial for the safe running of your engine, and the prevention of failure; if your oil is too old, it can gum up moving parts, reducing fuel economy and increasing the chances of breakdown.

Clean Your Windshield Your windshield is your primary point of observation while driving, providing you with an unfettered view of the road ahead as well as protection from the elements. The windshield can become obscured over time by an accumulation of road dust and grime, making it harder to see out of – and increasing risk while driving. Regularly cleaning your windshield ensures you can always see everything ahead of you, ensuring you don’t collide with any hidden hazards.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Lahore Times.

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