ON THE ROAD

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Car safety

There are four main reasons behind road traffic collisions, but they’re all avoidable.

Distractions can be deadly. You’re four times more likely to be killed or seriously injured if you use a mobile phone when you’re driving. Then there’s the sat nav… audio system… your passengers.

It takes just a couple of seconds to put your seatbelt on. If you don’t bother, you double your likelihood of dying in a crash.

Speed. Keep it down and make sure it’s appropriate to your route, the road and the weather.

And remember that even a small amount of drink or drugs in your system can mess up your reaction times, judgement and coordination.

Tyre safety

Drivers are responsible for making sure their vehicles are well maintained and roadworthy.

The depth of tread on your tyres is critical when it comes to accelerating, braking, steering and cornering – especially when the roads are wet.

The UK minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm. But are you among the 65% of drivers who don’t check their tyre treads often enough? All you need is a 20 pence piece – and 1 minute or so to watch this video!

Child car seats

Children must use a booster seat until they’re 135cm tall or 12 years of age. It’s the law.

Our advice is that they should actually travel in an appropriate restraint until they’re 150cm tall, because adult seatbelts might not fit them properly.

There are different types, and some only suit certain cars, so make sure you get yours checked by a professional.

You need to get the right seat for your child’s weight and height, and check that it’s fitted correctly for every journey.

And remember that child seats are only designed for one impact. Never re-use a seat that’s been in an accident or buy one second hand, even if it looks OK.

Here’s some information on choosing the right car seat, check out www.childcarseats.org.uk.

Motorcyclists

Some of the most common reasons for collisions involving motorbikes include:

Bends on country roads – reduce your speed before the bend so you have more room to manoeuvre

Junctions – this can be down to a driver failing to give way, to stop or misjudging your speed. Always anticipate and consider how you would deal with a vehicle unexpectedly pulling out in front of you.

Overtaking – overtaking requires skill, judgement and a good knowledge of your bike’s acceleration capacity. Snap decisions to overtake can be dangerous. Don’t overtake when approaching bends, junctions, lay-bys, crossings, hills or dips in the road or where signs/road markings prohibit you from doing so.

Loss of control – mainly due to two reasons: shunts, caused by riding too close to the vehicle in front, or the vehicle behind you being too close; failing to adjust your riding to deal with the different road conditions.

Personal protective equipment:

Wearing high-quality personal protective equipment (PPE) when riding will reduce the risk of you being killed or seriously injured on the road.

This ‘Essential Guide to Protective Gear for Bikers’ is a really useful resource produce by Think!

Biker down logo

Whatever your age or riding experience, everyone can benefit from extra training to improve their safety on the road. It can improve skills, refresh knowledge and boost confidence.

We offer a FREE three-hour ‘Biker Down’ course on accident scene management, first aid for motorcyclists and the science of being seen. Find out more about Biker Down here.

For more info about Biker Down in other areas of the UK its creators, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, have a contacts page here.

Cyclists

Helmets
Always wear a cycle helmet that is correctly fitted, secured and conforms to current safety standards. Avoid buying a second-hand helmet that might be damaged or previously involved in an accident.

Wearing a helmet won’t prevent a crash but it will protect your head, significantly reducing the risk of fatal or serious injury.

Be Bright, Be Seen
Wearing bright clothing, preferably something fluorescent and reflective when cycling, will help other road users to see you.

It’s illegal to cycle at night without lights. Ensure you have the appropriate lights and reflectors on your bike and that they are in good working order. Test your lights before setting off on each ride.

Further Training
There are lots of initial and further training courses available for cyclists in the West Midlands. Bike Right offer cycling skills tuition, maintenance courses and facilitate led rides.

BikeRadar UK provide some great safety videos on how to look after, service and maintain your bike.BikeRadar website logo

We’ve linked to some of the key ones here:

Pedestrians

Children are most at risk of being killed or seriously injured on the roads when they’re on foot. Good road safety behaviour can be learnt from a very early age. You can help by:

  • setting a good example
  • holding hands with your child as you cross the road
  • always finding the safest place to cross
  • stop, look and listen before crossing
  • take time to teach your child how to cross safely
  • ‘Tales of the Road: A highway code for young road users’‘ is a great resource to start discussions about road safety with your children.

For more information on family and children fire safety, Brake, the road safety charity, have this great page.

Pedestrian distractions

Distractions contribute to a large number of road injuries for pedestrians:

  • stop, look and listen before you cross the road
  • take your headphones off or out before crossing
  • don’t use your phone to make calls or look at the screen whilst crossing
  • always cross at designated crossings.