While the vast majority of us will simply jump into our cars over Christmas and set off on our next journey, we have an array of safe driving tips which will improve your journey experience and ultimately keep you safe. So, whether you are driving to buy some last minute gifts, off visiting friends and family and possibly have a long journey ahead of you, here are some tips to keep you safe.
Check Your Vehicle
It goes without saying that you should check various aspects of your vehicle before setting off on a journey but how many of us actually do this on a regular basis? Do you check your tyre pressure? Are your lights all working? Is the water reservoir for your windscreen full? Do you have enough fuel and is your oil at an acceptable level?
Even though many people read these “safe driving tips” hoping to read something which is spectacular and mind blowing, it is the relatively simple ideas which are most important. Do not forget the simple checks whether you are making a short journey or a relatively long journey. These checks not only assist with your overall safety but they can and they do increase the fuel efficiency of your car.
Sleep, Eat And Be Ready
Long journeys can be especially challenging and therefore you need to ensure that you have slept well, you have taken a meal or snack and you feel ready to drive. There is nothing wrong in postponing your journey for a short time if you do not feel ready because especially when travelling at night time you need to keep your wits about you. If you are honest, how many of us have actually driven a vehicle while feeling tired? Have you ever drifted off at the wheel or got to the point where you thought, this is getting dangerous?
It is also worth noting that not only is your safety at risk if you drive a vehicle when you are tired but also the safety of other motorists around you. Try to plan your journey at the most convenient time for you and in the most convenient environment. However, always make sure that you are alert and ready to go but if you do need to stop along the way then do so.
Only Pull Over In A Safe Location
There will be times when you are feeling tired and you need to pull over and park up. Even though we should all know you should never park on the hard shoulder of a motorway, or a breakdown lane, except in an emergency, how many of us have done this?
We automatically assume this is regulations gone mad but if you search on the Internet it won’t take long to find horrendous accidents where people have parked on hard shoulders or in breakdown lanes. If for whatever reason you do need to park in these particular locations you need to ensure that your vehicle is as visible as possible and stand well away from the vehicle, preferably on the safe side of any safety or crash barriers. This is why the police tend to come down very hard on those who use hard shoulders and breakdown lanes for “comfort breaks”.
Do not forget, this is why motorways have service stations where you can park up, take a comfort break, perhaps have a nap and replenish your energies with a drink and a snack.
Always Carry A Map
The vast majority of us have access to either a satnav or mobile phone apps which can direct us to any location in the world. In many ways this is an indication of how much we depend upon technology to get us from A to B but is new technology infallible? Are there occasions where a good old-fashioned map is more helpful?
Even though there have been massive strides in the development of GPS navigation systems there are still areas, many of which are in the countryside, where phone signals and satnav technology is left wanting. This is why seasoned drivers still carry a good old-fashioned map in the back of their car showing locations right across the UK and Europe for those travelling overseas. It may take a little longer to find where you are, some people may take a while to read a map, but when your GPS or phone signal disappears this will be a godsend.
Don’t Let That Petrol Gauge Hit Empty
How many miles do you manage to squeeze out of your vehicle when the empty fuel light starts flashing? Do you keep going when your vehicle is running dangerously low on fuel? In reality, there are very few drivers who have not “taken a chance” when their vehicle is running dangerously low on petrol/ diesel. The truth is that there is no need to take a chance because you should be able to plan ahead and take advantage of fuel stops along the way. How embarrassing is it to run out of fuel in this day and age?
If you are going on a relatively long journey, which may take in rural areas, you should never let your petrol gauge get anywhere near empty. As you move away from the motorways and the main roads, into the villages and the small hamlets, garages and petrol stations will become fewer and further between. Even if you run out of fuel and you are a member of a recovery service such as the AA you will waste a lot of time waiting to be rescued. If you break down and you are not a member, the cost of recovery will be a lot greater than you ever expected. Plan ahead, do not let your petrol gauge get anywhere near empty and enjoy your journey.
Each and every one of the above safe driving tips is “common sense” when we read about them but how many of us actually put them into action in real life? We know what we need to do, we know what we should do but many of us are lazy or tend to assume that everything will turn out right. Do you really want to go on a long journey worrying about the location of the next petrol station? Driving at night time is hard enough without feeling tired and lost?
Ensuring your vehicle is in full working order only takes a few moments but could literally save your life.