Road traffic accidents (RTA’s) are among the most common types of accidents in the UK. What’s particularly disconcerting about RTA’s is that most of these accidents could have been easily avoided.
We’ve put together 6 common causes of RTA’s in the UK and simple ways that that they can be avoided.
In these times of multi-tasking, it may seem like a waste of time for some people to just drive and do nothing else. Unbelievably many drivers still use their driving time to catch up with phone calls, text messages and emails, or even grab a quick meal, read through work files, or apply make-up. The fact is diverting your attention from the road for even a minute can cause an avoidable RTA.
The only way to prevent road traffic accidents due to distracted driving is to shun the idea of multi-tasking while driving. Keeping your attention on the road at all times is the single most important thing you can do to keep yourself and other road users safe.
Reckless or careless driving often involves multiple road violations including:
- Driving over the speed limit
- Running a red light
- Driving down a one-way street the wrong way
- Ignoring give-way signs
- Changing lanes quickly without any indication
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Driving at night or in bad weather without headlights
- Turning without signalling or without having right of way
Any of these actions is essentially an accident waiting to happen. You go over the speed limit once or run a red light once and nothing happens so you do it again. The next time however, you may not be so lucky. Every single time you break any road traffic rule, you put yourself and other road users in danger of death by careless driving.
Observing road rules is basically non-negotiable. You know the rules of road. Just observing them is a simple way to stay safe on the roads.
Driving Under The Influence
There is a very good reason why authorities constantly publish reminders to use a designated driver or call a taxi after a night out drinking or if you’ve taken drugs. Alcohol and drugs will cloud your judgment and impair your ability to focus and function properly.
Your muscle coordination is not as efficient as it is when you are sober and your reaction times are much slower. This is a risky combination at any time, and even more so when you are behind the wheel as you are less likely to heed road rules when driving under the influence, putting yourself and others in danger.
All RTA’s due to driving under the influence are preventable. If you’ve had a couple of drinks or taken any drugs, calling a taxi or using a designated driver will keep you and other road users safe.
There’s a lot of emphasis on not driving when under the influence, but driver fatigue has been largely ignored. Driving when you’re tired or exhausted has similar risk factors as driving under the influence – impaired ability to perceive and process information quickly, inefficient muscle coordination, and slower reaction times. Many road accidents are caused because of exhausted drivers who nod off for just a split second while driving. That’s more than enough time to lose control and cause an accident.
If you find yourself feeling tired at the wheel, it’s safer to pull over at a safe spot and take a quick nap rather than keep going. You may get to your destination a few minutes late but you’ll get there, which is more important.
Even the most expensive cars need to be maintained regularly. There’s no exception to this rule. If you own a car, you must make sure that it is serviced regularly so it is safe to drive. Defective tyres, poor suspension, wheels that are out of alignment, insufficient brake fluid, and steering issues can lead to problems controlling your vehicle. More often than not, these problems arise because of non-maintenance. When you take your vehicle in for servicing, the mechanics can check every component under and over the bonnet to make sure that your car is road-worthy.
Getting your vehicle professionally serviced regularly is an important part of car ownership.
Rain or Snow
Rain and snow create slick and dangerous surfaces that contribute to vehicles skidding or sliding or spin out of control. In addition to making the roads slippery, rain and snow also decrease visibility, which create dangerous driving conditions by itself. With poor visibility and slippery roads combined, it can be a struggle just to see the vehicle in front of you, to know when it’s safe to take that turn, or even to try and stay in your lane. While that does not mean you should not venture out in bad weather, it is important to be prepared for whatever the drive has in store for you.
Check your vehicle before heading out to make sure the tyres are properly inflated and the wipers and brakes are working as efficiently as they should. Check that you have everything you need in case of an emergency and make it a rule to always leave home well in time so you don’t have to rush. You can never be too careful when heading out in bad weather especially if you’re driving long distance.
You may not be able to control the weather but you can control how you drive in bad weather and that can make all the difference to having an RTA, or not.