We live in dangerous times. The world sometimes feels as if it is on the brink of War as you watch the 6 o’clock news. There are frightening reports from all over the world about superpowers flexing their muscles. They seem to enjoy invading neighbouring countries and being downright villainous in general.
But all that is not a huge concern for us, day to day. We feel safe in our homes from any imminent invasions as we know that the likelihood of it is highly unlikely. However, a place where we need to feel very safe and secure is in our cars. We Britons are a nation of car enthusiasts, in part due to the inclement weather conditions that follow us around. Given that we collectively spend so long in our cars, it is of utmost important that we do so safely.
It is great if you can get somewhere quickly and easily but often this is not the case. There are around 29 million cars currently registered on the roads in Britain today. This means increased traffic which not only slows you down but also an increased risk of having an accident.
Feeling safe in your car should always be a priority for you. If you are driving alone, it is your responsibility to be well behaved and considerate to your fellow drivers. You would like them to do the same for you so show them by your example how a good driver operates their vehicle.
The need for security when in a car extends way beyond personal reasons, however. When we offer to take somebody somewhere, we are instantly responsible for their safety and well-being. As you are in control of a large amount of steel and glass, you need to think extra carefully about how best to get to and from your intended destination.
This factor comes into play even more vitally when you are ferrying family around. A lot of us here in the British Isles take holidays within the UK as a cheap and easy alternative to a long-haul trip. There are loads of beautiful villages and towns to be explored throughout England. So we pack the car up, load in the kids and set off on the motorway. While it is imperative that we always take care of any passenger in our car, you will agree that your family always takes priority.
In 2008 there were 2538 fatalities on the roads of Great Britain and almost a quarter of a million of us were injured in road related circumstances. I am sure you will agree that these are shocking statistics.
You will be glad to know that there are measures to take that can help us avoid such tragic events, and some are listed below.
Lack of Sleep
Modern life can be very fast paced at times, and this means that a lot of us do not get the required amount of sleep. If you work long hours in an office, you will know exactly what I mean. You could have a deadline coming up the following day, but suddenly a change of plans means that you need to complete the task in hand by 6 pm that evening. This is a common scenario among office workers and the cause of much longer time spent in offices up and down the country. But what if you have plans? Perhaps you were looking forward to getting back home to look up the football match. Maybe you have a date with your wife at a local restaurant. It could be your turn to drop the kids off at Karate lessons!
Whatever it is, you now have a problem. You need to back by 7 pm but won’t get to leave the office until 6:30 pm. You are tired enough as it is and now you have only 30 minutes to complete a journey that usually takes you around 45 minutes. You don’t want to let anyone down, so you rush home. While weaving in and out of traffic you are struggling to stay awake considering that you got into the office at 6am. You are rubbing your eyes as your concentration drifts when suddenly you hear a loud rushing sound very close by. In the time you take to look in your mirror you could have been hit by a truck, rear-ended by a people carrier or sideswiped by an SUV. Either way, this could have been avoided by obeying some simple rules.
If you are feeling under pressure to get home in a hurry and fear being late, relax. Call whoever it is that you are worried about letting down and calmly explain to them what has happened. Tell them you will likely be a little late as you must set off later and you now that the traffic will be bad. They will understand. Instead of getting stressed, you can be helpful and offer alternative ideas for how they can get to where they need to be. That dinner date can wait until tomorrow and it is not worth risking your life for. If you feel tired when it is time to leave the office, drive slowly and try to avoid the busiest stretches of road. If this is impossible, then try to rest before you leave the office. Is there somewhere you can lie down for an hour? This will make you later than ever, but most importantly of all, you will arrive at some point. The same cannot be said if you are involved in a serious accident.
Perform Regular Maintenance Checks
If you have bought a used car from a private seller, be sure to get it checked over thoroughly at a local garage. You cannot be sure if they have been entirely truthful about its condition. You can rest easier if you have purchased a car from an authorised trader. For example, at Currie Motors Lexus they give full inspections of all cars that leave their lots. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to keep it up!
If your car is old or new, the same rules apply when it comes to checking things. Before any long journeys, make sure that your tyres are fully inflated. This is crucial as if they are not, your steering becomes much heavier, and the car is more likely to struggle to respond to evasive maneuvers. Look at the oil gauge on your dashboard. Is it in need of a top up? Get it sorted before you begin travelling. Your car will perform much more effectively thus increasing its ability to respond to your control. If your car has any knocking sounds or anything else that doesn’t seem right, take it to a garage to be looked at.
A lot of people ignore these types of sounds and chalk it up to just being a quirk of the car. This is very dangerous as you have no idea what the actual issue is that is causing the noise. It is always better to be safe than sorry!
Always check that you have a fully functioning spare tyre in your car. Blowouts are a common cause of car accidents in the UK. Those lucky enough to avoid serious injury are left with the issue of having one less wheel to get home with. Usually, a car recovery service will come to the rescue, but your policy may have expired. Maybe you forgot your phone and have now way to contact them. Either way, always be prepared for the eventuality that you may have to sort this one out yourself. Better put a jack in the boot too!
Use common sense and don’t overreach your capabilities. If you are well rested in a safe and prepared vehicle, you significantly lessen the potential for accidents. Be smart and stay safe!