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Safety Hub

Driving safety

Road traffic accidents can happen more easily than you think. By following our simple guidance, you can keep yourself safe while driving.
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Safety Category:

On the road - safety for vehicle drivers

There are many reasons behind road traffic collisions on the road, although many are avoidable. 

Click or tap the accordions below to see our top tips.

Drivers should also be aware of the highway code, as this has rules for drivers and motorcyclists, including vehicle condition, fitness to drive, alcohol and drugs, what to do before setting off, vehicle towing and loading, and seat belts and child restraints.

Some of this guidance we've included below as part of our safety tips, but we recommend regularly reviewing the highway code to ensure you're up to date with any changes.

View the Highway Code on gov.uk

Vehicle Checks

VEHICLE CHECKS

Always make sure you do basic checks on your vehicle before setting off, especially for long journeys. Here are some of the key things to check:

  • Petrol
  • Oil
  • Water
  • Any damage
  • Electrics (your lights and windscreen wipers)
  • Tyre pressure and treads

For more vehicle safety check advice, visit THINK.

Plan your journey

PLAN YOUR JOURNEY AHEAD

  • If you are going to use a Sat-Nav, remember to programme this before the vehicle is moving
  • Ensure your Sat-Nav is not obstructing the drivers view
  • Take a map, use a highlighter to mark your planned route
  • Check the weather forecast before setting out
  • Tell someone where and when you are expected to arrive at your destination
  • Drive accordingly to the road conditions, keeping within the speed limit

Seatbelts

SEATBELTS

Always wear a seatbelt, seatbelts save lives!

You are twice as likely to die if you do not. It's also against the law not to wear a seatbelt in the UK. You can be fined up to £500 if you don't wear a seat belt when you're supposed to.

There are certain exceptions for not wearing a seatbelt, including medical exemptions. Visit https://www.gov.uk/seat-belts-law/when-you-dont-need-to-wear-a-seat-belt to check these and see what applies to you.

For more information on seatbelt law and safety, visit https://www.gov.uk/seat-belts-law

Drink or Drug Driving

DRINK/DRUG DRIVING

  • Alcohol and drugs can impair a driver’s reaction times, coordination & judgement of speed and distance
  • Even prescribed medication (legal) from your G.P can affect a driver, always check the label or ask your G.P if it is safe for you to drive
  • Never drink/drug drive
  • Plan your journey ahead, if you are consuming alcohol consider these options for travelling safely:
    • Pre-order a taxi
    • Use public transport
    • Designate a driver who is not consuming alcohol to drive
    • Walk however think about your personal safety i.e. do not walk by water (canal, lake, reservoir), walk where there are members of the public about and the lighting is appropriate

If you're unsure if you're safe to drive the morning after, you could always use the Morning After Calculator - it isn't designed to help you work out how much you can drink, but it gives a rough guide on when you might be safe to drive. Remember, the best way to be safe is not to drive at all if you have any doubt!

For more advice on the dangers of driving under the influence and how you can ensure you are safe, visit Brake charity.

Mobile phones

MOBILE PHONES

  • Like drink/drug driving, using any form of technology in a vehicle can affect a driver’s reaction times, coordination and judgement.
  • Ensure any devices do not obstruct the driver’s visibility
  • Stop in a safe & legal place to make or receive a phone call
  • Put your mobile phone in the glove compartment
  • Turn your mobile phone on silent or off
  • Using a signal-blocking pouch, even a hands-free telephone call (Bluetooth built-in system) can affect a driver’s concentration, leading to slower reaction times and increased stopping distances
  • Distractions limit your reactions!

For more details on mobile phone safety when driving, visit Brake charity.

Speeding

SPEEDING

Always obey the speed limits for the roads you're driving on. They are there for a reason. It's also important to consider road conditions as these can impact stopping distances and other factors. So always:

  • Keep within the speed limit
  • consider the road conditions
  • adapt your driving speed when roads are busier
  • keep sufficient distance between you and the vehicle ahead.

For more details on speeding safety and how you can make sure you keep safe, visit Brake charity.

Check the weather forecast

CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST

Think about how these weather conditions can impact on your driving ability:

Rain, ice & snow make the road surface slippery

Sun glare & fog affect the driver’s visibility

In any of the above road conditions, drivers need to consider an appropriate speed to travel at.

Ask yourself, do I have to travel?

To check the weather in your area, you can visit the met office website.

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