Road Safety

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Slow Down Most of us like to think of ourselves as responsible road users and at times we’ve all complained about other drivers ‘speeding. But equally, if we’re honest with ourselves lots of us might admit that, on occasion, we’ve let our speed creep up just a few miles over the speed limit. Perhaps we’ve been in a hurry, distracted, frustrated after a bad day at work, or maybe we’ve just been complacent on familiar roads that we know well. The truth is though, that even travelling just a few miles per hour over the limit is speeding and puts lives in danger. The faster you drive, the less time you have to react if something unexpected happens and the laws of physics means that the faster you are travelling, the longer it will take your vehicle to stop and the harder you’ll hit anything that you collide with. Data shows that if average speeds were reduced by just 1mph, then the road traffic collision rate would fall by approximately 5%. But even if you‘re not in a collision, driving even just a few miles per hour over the speed limit can make it feel really unpleasant and unsafe for people who are trying to walk and cycle. The other thing to remember is that the speed limit is not a target. It’s the maximum speed at which you can legally travel on that stretch of road. That doesn’t mean that it is always safe or appropriate to travel at this speed. On residential roads or close to schools, shops, playgrounds – anywhere where there are likely to be lots of people walking or on bikes and scooters – it’s often far safer to travel well below the signed speed limit and give consideration to those people around you who are not in cars. Be a Road Safety Hero and slow down………and if you need another reminder watch this old advert from the DfT. 
Leave the phone aloneWe all like to think of ourselves as good drivers and often believe it’s the other people on the road who are the problem! Yet it’s surprising how many of us, when we’re honest, admit to using our phones whilst driving. The fact is that using a phone whilst driving is a significant distraction and substantially increases the risk of crashing. If you’re someone who does it, even occasionally, then you are putting your life and the lives of others in danger. The simple fact is that you are four times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone whilst driving because you are less aware of what is happening on the road around you, meaning that you react more slowly. Many people mistakenly believe that using hands-free is a safer option, but this simply isn’t true. Studies have repeatedly shown that hands-free options don’t significantly reduce the risks. This is because the problem is mainly caused by the mental distraction and divided attention to using your phone at the same time as driving. Although drivers using hands-free phone options may be physically be looking through the windscreen, their brains are not fully able to process everything that they see, monitor their surroundings, identify potential hazards, or respond to unexpected situations. Some drivers also believe that using their phone with hands-free options is no different to talking to or interacting with a passenger inside the vehicle, but again this isn’t strictly true. Although passengers can be a distraction, anyone inside the vehicle is better able to see the road environment. Natural pauses in conversations can occur when you are, for example, negotiating tricky junctions, or when traffic volumes are high. Passengers can understand why you’re not responding to them instantly in a way that your phone can’t. Be a Road Safety Hero, forget your phone whilst driving and give the road your full attention. Here’s an old advert if you still need a bit more convincing to leave your phone alone.
Buckle UpSadly, you never know if, or when, you’ll be involved in a collision. But if a crash does happen seat belts are a key way of reducing the risk of injury. This is because they will keep you in your seat meaning that you will be stopped from hitting hard interior features of the car such as dashboards, gear sticks, handbrakes, steering wheels and doors. Seat belts are designed to work on an adult frame. Children need to use a suitable child restraint until they are 12 years old or 135cms (whichever comes first). A child restraint ensures younger passengers are lifted into the correct position to allow the seat belt to lie across their shoulder and hips and pelvis rather than across their neck and abdomen.  An incorrectly positioned seat belt (i.e. one that lies across the neck/ abdomen) could actually cause injuries to a child in a crash. A very small child using only the adult seat belt could actually slip out of the seat belt altogether in a collision, resulting in catastrophic injuries.The other point to remember is that if you’re in a crash and you have people in the vehicle that aren’t wearing a seatbelt or child restraint then they can be thrown around inside, injuring not only themselves but also other passengers. Since the introduction of seat belt laws, they’ve saved tens of thousands of lives.  statistics show that you’re twice as likely to die in a crash if you don’t wear your seat belt, so be a Road Safety Hero – Wear your seat belt and make sure everyone else in the vehicle uses theirs too. Here are some old DfT adverts to remind us about using a seat belt and making sure your passengers do as well
A final thought… Leave the car at home? The climate emergency and air pollution issues mean that in the future we all might need to think differently about how we travel and how often we use the car. Can you be a road safety hero by leaving the car at home and walking, cycling or even scooting some of those shorter journeys? Small changes can make a big difference, so even leaving the car at home occasionally can help.