The further you look in front of you, the sooner you will spot any hazards that you might come across out on the road – cyclists, pedestrians, potholes, horse riders or even loose animals in the road (if you live in a rural location) are all things you will need plenty of time to react to and safely navigate around. The sooner you spot them, the safer you will be in dealing with them.
Pay attention to what is going on around you
Put your hazard perception into practice by keeping tabs on what is going on around you. That way, you will be ready to react if it becomes a hazard. You should also make sure you keep an eye on other cars around you and keep plenty of distance between yourself and others. All these things increase the time you’ll have to react if you need to.
Check your car regularly
Car maintenance is super important to make sure that your car does not break down. Simple things like checking your oil, wiper fluid, engine coolant and keeping an eye on your fuel gauge can help to avoid a dangerous motorway breakdown.
Be aware of distractions (and how to avoid them)
The most common distractions for young drivers are phones, loud music and even passengers. So, try to make sure you put your phone away when you are behind the wheel, or if you need it for Maps, you can get a phone stand for your windscreen to help keep it out of reach (and out of temptation). If you have just passed your test, drive with a smaller number of passengers to start with and make sure you let them know to keep it down a little bit to help you concentrate.
Take regular breaks
Tiredness is one of the biggest causes of car accidents on our roads, so make sure that you’re fuelled up as well as your car! You would not set off with an empty tank, so grab something to eat and a drink for the road – maybe a coffee. Stop at regular intervals to have a break and stretch your legs too.
Keep an eye on the weather
With the British weather being the way it is, you need to account for the rain on the roads (yes, even in the middle of summer). Water on the road will reduce how quickly you can stop if you need to emergency brake, so give yourself extra room between yourself and other vehicles. Plus, heavy vehicles such as lorries create spray when driving in the wet, which can affect your visibility.
Easy does it
Accelerating and braking gradually is another way to not only stay safe on the road, but also increase your fuel efficiency! Taking things slowly means you have more time to react to hazards in the road, pedestrians or other vehicles not quite behaving as you would expect.
Watch your speed
Finally, keeping an eye on your speedometer is key to being a safer driver. Remember, you do not always need to meet the maximum speed limit. If there is a tight bend coming up on a 40mph road, take it more slowly to make sure you can see round the bend before accelerating again. It is a speed limit and not a target.