Driving responsibly is of upmost importace for all drivers – it helps to reduce the likelihood of accidents and if you are unlucky enough to be involved in an accident, the fact you were already driving sensibly can mitigate the effects.
Never drink and drive
We all know this, but it’s easy to think that “just the one” will be OK. Realistically, no alcohol at all is the only way to know you’re not over the limit. Alcohol can impair your judgement, meaning you can’t assess speeds and distances properly. It can also slow your reactions or make you behave irrationally. You may also end up needing to get legal advice if you fail a breath test, even if you aren’t involved in an accident.
Book a cab, walk, take a bus, stay at your friend’s place – do anything but get behind that wheel.
Don’t get distracted
Some distractions you can’t avoid – a crying baby in the back, or an unusual sight by the roadside. However, there are many potential distractions that are under your control. Don’t use your mobile when driving, as it takes your attention away and slows down your reactions. Likewise don’t eat food, sip drinks, or apply make-up (yes, really…).
Make sure pets and children are restrained – children should be in appropriate seats and pets in pet carriers.
Don’t drive when really tired
Severe tiredness or drowsiness might not make you fall asleep at the wheel, but you might lose focus for a second or two and this is enough to cause an accident.
You should aim to get at least seven or eight hours of sleep a night, ideally. This isn’t always possible of course, so if you are driving after insufficient sleep, take regular breaks and drink plenty of water and coffee.
You should also be careful with any medications you may be on. Some antihistamines and cold remedies can cause drowsiness, so take advice from a GP or read the labels carefully.
Always use your seatbelt
Seatbelts are a legal requirement and their use can reduce the risk of fatal or serious injury by half. They prevent drivers and passengers from being thrown around inside the vehicle or from being jettisoned out through the windscreen. This prevents catastrophic head injuries, broken bones and the chance of being thrown into the path of another vehicle.
Stay calm behind the wheel
Being stuck in a jam or getting cut up by another driver is infuriating, but remember, you’re in charge of a ton of metal and that means you must be responsible. Getting angry at a delay or at another driver won’t solve anything, but it could make you drive erratically and put yourself and others at risk.
It’s tempting to beep your horn or make rude hand gestures, but this will only distract other drivers. If another driver is tailgating you or acting aggressively towards you, give way and let them go – they’ll be out of your hair and you can carry on driving safely to your destination.