Approximately 27,300 people were killed or seriously injured on the road in 2021, with this number reduced markedly by 13% when compared with figures collated between 2017 and 2019.
Of course, many may argue that this decline has been driven by a reduction in the number of people on the roads post-covid, especially as remote and hybrid working practices become increasingly commonplace.
Regardless, it’s crucial that you take responsibility for your own safety as a driver. Even seemingly small considerations can have a big impact, like the size of the vehicle. For example, with a used SUV, like the Peugeot 2008, there is a 50% higher chance of you surviving a crash due to enhanced protection from the weight.
But what other steps can you take to stay safe behind the wheel? Here are three to keep in mind:
#1. Maintain a Safe Distance at all Times
This is a fundamental principle of safe driving, as the distance between your vehicle and the car in front impacts directly on stopping time and your ability to avoid a collision if an incident occurs ahead.
In general terms, you should retain a minimum two-second gap between your car and the vehicle in front, even in dry conditions with optimal visibility.
This is only a minimum guide, however, and most literature will advise that you adhere to a three or four-second rule when measuring distance. This allows ample time to break, while it should be increased incrementally in challenging weather conditions or poor visibility.
#2. Respect the Speed Limit at all Times
Speed limits are implemented for a reason, in order to regulate the average speed of vehicles and minimise the risk of accidents occurring.
This is also why speed limits vary considerably from one area to another, from 20mph on narrow, country lanes to 40, 50 or even 60mph on open or ‘A’ roads.
Ultimately, you should also aim to drive at the speed limit or slightly underneath this, as this helps to optimise the free flow of traffic while ensuring that you maintain control of your vehicle and increase its average stopping distance.
On a similar note, driving too slow or significantly beneath the speed limit can be hazardous, especially if it frustrates other motorists or creates a backlog of traffic.
#3. Minimise Distraction at all Times
Many accidents are caused by distractions, such as those provided by your smartphone, passengers or (in some cases) the actions of other motorists.
As a general rule, you’ll need to remain focused on your driving and the road ahead at all times, while also keeping your eyes on potential hazards as they arise and watching out for pedestrians.
So, we’d recommend keeping your phone tucked away from sight at all times, while maintaining music at a respectable level.
You may also want to put your phone on silent to avoid the temptation of answering calls while driving, in addition to ensuring that passengers behave responsibly and refrain from trying to capture your attention in the car.