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Driving Safety

Winter Driving

Tyre Safety

Speed Safety

Seatbelt Safety

Drink & Drug Driving

Winter Survival Kit

winter

Winter Survival Kit

  • Ice scraper
  • Torch and spare batteries
  • Warm clothes and blankets
  • High-visibility jacket
  • Boots with good grip
  • First aid kit
  • Jump start cables
  • Empty fuel can
  • Food and drink
  • Shovel
  • Reflective warning sign
  • Road atlas
  • Sunglasses
  • Phone charger

Read more about Winter Survival Kit

Winter Driving Tips

winter

Winter Driving Tips

Take it slow – with stopping distances 10 times longer, gentle manoeuvres are the key to safe driving in ice and snow.

  • Wear comfortable, dry shoes for driving.
  • Pull away in second gear, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin.
  • Uphill – leave plenty of room or wait until it’s clear so you don’t have to stop part way up. Keep a constant speed and try to avoid having to change gear on the hill.
  • Downhill – slow down before the hill, use a low gear and try to avoid braking. Leave as much room as you can to the car in front.
  • If you have to use your brakes, apply them gently.
  • If you drive an Automatic, check the handbook – some have a winter mode or recommend selecting ‘2’ in slippery conditions.
  • If you do get stuck, straighten the steering and clear the snow from the wheels. Put a sack or old rug in front of the driving wheels to give the tyres some grip.

Vehicle Checks

winter

Vehicle Checks

  • Oil – Make sure you check your oil before any long journey
  • Washer Fluid - Always make sure you windscreen washer fluid is topped up
  • Engine Coolant – Always ensure you’re engine coolant is at the correct level (anti-freeze) please refer to product guidelines for correct amount.
  • Tyres – Always make sure your tread depth is above 1.6mm, we recommend a minimum of 3mm
  • Light – Make sure you check all operating lights before any journey.
  • Fuel – Make sure you have enough fuel to reach you destination.

Weather

winter

Motorcycles

tyre-safety

Motorcycles

  • Check your tyre pressures from cold at least once a week using an accurate gauge.
  • Inflate tyres to the pressure recommended in the manufacturer’s handbook.
  • Inspect tyres for cuts, bulges, uneven wear or objects embedded in the tread.
  • Check that your tread depth is not below the legal minimum of 1mm (for bikes over 50cc)
  • If your rims are cracked or bent they should be replaced immediately.
  • Replace old or damaged valve stems.
  • Select the correct type of tyre for your machine and riding style.
  • Check that both tyres fitted to the bike are made by the same manufacturer and have the same tread pattern.
  • Make sure that your tyre has been fitted the right way round by checking the directional arrows on the sidewall.
  • When replacing tube type tyres always use a new inner tube.
  • Make sure your tyre/wheel assembly is balanced correctly.
  • Use dust caps to keep dirt away from the valve core and to act as a secondary air seal.
  • Keep oil and grease off your tyres using detergent if necessary.
  • If you are unsure on any aspect of tyre pressure or tyre condition take your motorcycle to an approved fitting centre and speak to a qualified professional.

Car

tyre-safety

Car

Whatever you’re driving, the condition of your tyres is critical for your safety as they’re the only part of your vehicle in contact with the road.  Because your tyres play such a vital role, there are some very important and specific legal requirements relating to their condition and maintenance:

  • Tyres must be fit for purpose and be free from any defects which might damage the road or endanger any person.
  • Tyres must be correctly inflated to the vehicle manufacturers and the tyre manufacturer's recommended pressure.
  • Be compatible with the types of tyres fitted to the other wheels
  • Not have any lumps, bulges or tears caused by separation or partial failure of the structure.
  • Not have a cut or tear in excess of 25mm or 10% of the sectional width of the tyre, whichever is the greater, and which is deep enough to reach the ply or cord.
  • Not have any part of the ply or cord exposed.
  • Car tyres should have a minimum of 1.6mm throughout a continuous band in the centre 3/4 of the tread and around the entire circumference, however we recommend you have at least 3mm.

Van

tyre-safety

Van

  • Use a reliable and accurate pressure gauge to check the pressure of van tyres at least once a month or before a long trip.
  • Check the pressure in all tyres not forgetting to check any spare tyre(s) as well.
  • Tyre pressure should be checked against the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended operating pressures for the load being carried.
  • Check the pressure when tyres are cold or when the vehicle has travelled less than two miles.
  • When checking pressures, give the rest of the tyre a thorough visual inspection. Remove any stones and other objects embedded in the tread. Look out for any cuts, lumps or bulges.
  • If you are unsure on any aspect of tyre pressure or tyre condition take your vehicle to an approved fitting centre and speak to the experts.

Lorry

tyre-safety

Lorry

Safety

When a tyre is under-inflated, heat builds up inside the tyre, which may eventually lead to a sudden tyre deflation. Tyre failure may cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle, which is particularly dangerous on motorway carriageways.

Vehicle handling

The tyre is a complex component of a vehicle that has been engineered to work in harmony with the vehicles sophisticated brake, steering and suspension systems. When a tyre is under-inflated, the tyre contains insufficient air to support the weight of the vehicle properly, which adversely affects acceleration, braking and cornering.

Fuel economy

By keeping tyres at their correct pressure, drivers can travel further on each tank of fuel and help to reduce CO2 emissions.

Premature tyre wear

Keeping tyres inflated to the recommended tyre pressure level for the vehicle ensures even tyre pressure distribution, optimum handling, and consequently a more even wear rate, keeping the tyres in service for longer.

Tread Depth

Current tread depth legislation requires that truck tyres must have a minimum of 1mm of tread in a continuous band throughout the central three-quarters of the tread width and over the whole circumference of the tyre. The same regulation applies to regrooved tyres. The driver of the vehicle is responsible for making sure his/her tyres are legal and in a roadworthy condition. The penalty for driving with an illegal tyre is 2,500 and three penalty points per tyre.

When driving in wet weather, the tread pattern of the tyre helps to evacuate surface water from the road. As the tread begins to wear down, the tyre gradually loses the ability to evacuate all the water from the road surface, which increases stopping distances in the wet. The lower the tread depth, the greater the risk of aquaplaning.

Speed

speed-safety

Speed

The Facts

  • Speed is one of the main factors in fatal road accidents
  • The risk of death is approximately four times higher when a pedestrian is hit at 40mph than at 30mph
  • Fatal accidents are four times as likely on rural “A” roads as urban “A” roads

The Law

  • You must not drive faster than the speed limit for the type of road and your type of vehicle. The speed limit is the absolute maximum and it doesn’t mean it's safe to drive at this speed in all conditions.

Speeding Penalties

The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and 3 penalty points added to your licence.

You could be disqualified from driving if you build up 12 or more penalty points within a period of 3 years.

If you’re stopped by the police for the speeding offence, they can either:

  • send you the details of the penalty
  • send the case straight to court

If you weren’t stopped by the police for the speeding offence (eg it was caught by speed camera), the vehicle’s registered keeper must be sent a notice of intended prosecution within 14 days. You may have to go to court if you ignore the notice.

New Drivers

  • If you’re still within 2 years of passing your driving test, your driving licence will be revoked (withdrawn) if you build up 6 or more penalty points.

Advice

  • The speed limit is a limit not a target
  • Country roads often have sharp bends. Stay in control and give yourself time to react to unexpected hazards by braking before the bend, not in it
  • Driving too fast for the conditions is bad driving
  • Consider the consequences of causing an accident due to driving at excessive speed

Seatbelts

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Seatbelts

The Facts

  • In a crash you're twice as likely to die if you don't wear a seatbelt.
  • Drivers and passengers aged 17-34 have the lowest seatbelt-wearing rates combined with the highest accident rate.
  • There is evidence that people are less likely to use seatbelts on short or familiar journeys - this puts them at serious risk of injury in a crash.

The Law

  • Drivers and passengers who fail to wear seatbelts in the front and back of vehicles are breaking the law.
  • Drivers caught without a seatbelt face on-the-spot fines of £100. If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500.
  • Adults travelling in the rear of a car must also use seatbelts, if they're fitted. It's the responsibility of the adult passenger (not the driver) to make sure that they are using the seatbelt.

Children

You must make sure that any children in the vehicle you’re driving are:

  • In the correct car seat for their height or weight until they reach 135 centimetres tall or their 12th birthday, whichever is first.
  • Wearing a seat belt if they’re 12 or 13 years old, or younger and over 135cm tall.
  • You can be fined up to £500 if a child under 14 isn’t in the correct car seat or wearing a seat belt while you’re driving.
  • Children under the age of 14, travelling in the rear of a car that has appropriate restraints, must belt up. ' It is the responsibility of the driver to make sure children under 14 years of age are wearing their seatbelts...once 14 years old it is up to the passenger to take responsibility!

Exemptions

You don’t need to wear a seat belt if you’re:

  • A driver who is reversing, or supervising a learner driver who is reversing.
  • In a vehicle being used for police, fire and rescue services.
  • A passenger in a trade vehicle and you’re investigating a fault.
  • Driving a goods vehicle on deliveries that is travelling no more than 50 metres between stops.
  • A licensed taxi driver who is ‘plying for hire’ or carrying passengers.

Medical Exemptions

Your doctor may say you don’t have to wear a seat belt for a medical reason. They’ll give you a ‘Certificate of Exemption from Compulsory Seat Belt Wearing’. You must:

  • Keep this in your vehicle.
  • Show it to the police if you’re stopped.

You’ll also need to tell your car insurer.

Wearing a seat belt while pregnant

You must wear a seat belt if you’re pregnant, unless your doctor says you don’t have to for medical reasons.

Wearing a seat belt if you’re disabled

You must wear a seat belt if you’re a disabled driver or passenger, unless you don’t have to for medical reasons. You may need to adapt your vehicle.

If your vehicle doesn’t have seat belts

If your vehicle doesn’t have seat belts, for example it’s a classic car, you aren’t allowed to carry any children under 3 years old in it.

Children over 3 are only allowed to sit in the back seats.

These rules only apply if your vehicle was originally made without seat belts.

Drug Driving

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Drug Driving

The Facts

It is against the law to drive under the influence of illegal drugs, or if you have certain drugs above a specified level in your blood.

Similar to drink driving, the police have a roadside test that makes it easier to detect those who are driving under the influence of illegal drugs.

If you are caught and convicted, you could face a driving ban, large fine and a prison sentence. 

Changes to the drug driving law

On 2 March 2015, the drug driving law changed to make it easier for the police to catch and convict drug drivers.

It is now an offence to drive with any of 17 controlled drugs above a specified level in your blood. This includes illegal and medical drugs. The limits set for each drug is different, and for illegal drugs the limits set are extremely low, but have been set at a level to rule out any accidental exposure (i.e from passive smoking).

Officers can test for cannabis and cocaine at the roadside, and screen for other drugs, including ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and heroin at the police station. Even drivers that pass the roadside check can be arrested if the police suspect that your driving is impaired by drugs.

The consequences

The penalties for drug driving are the same as for drink driving. If you are convicted you could face:

  • A minimum 12-month driving ban
  • A criminal record
  • An unlimited fine
  • Up to 6 months in prison
  • An endorsement on your driving license for 11 years

The consequences of a drug drive conviction are far reaching and can include:

  • Job loss
  • Loss of independence
  • The shame of having a criminal record
  • Increase in car insurance costs
  • Trouble getting in to countries like the USA

How drugs impair driving

Driving under the influence of drugs is extremely dangerous and can affect driving skills in a number of ways.

Cannabis users often think they are safer when they are under the influence because they drive more slowly. However, cannabis slows reaction and decision times. It can also distort perception of time and distance, and result in poorer concentration and control of the vehicle.

Cocaine leads to a sense of over-confidence and this is reflected in user’s driving style. Users typically perform higher risk, more aggressive manoeuvres at greater speeds.

Ecstasy (MDMA) is extremely dangerous to drive on because it results in distorted vision, heightened perception of sounds, altered perception and judgment of risks and an over-confident driving attitude.

During the phase whilst the effects of any illegal drugs are wearing off the user may feel fatigued, affecting concentration levels.

Driving in any of these conditions is a bad idea – not just for the driver but for their passengers and other road users.

Drink Driving

drink-and-drugs

Drink Driving

The Facts

In the last 50 years road casualties caused by drink driving have fallen dramatically, but in 2014, there were still 240 deaths due to drink driving – accounting for 14% of all road fatalities. By drinking and driving, you risk your life, those of your passengers and others on the road.

The Law

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the legal alcohol limit for drivers is:

  • 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
  • 107 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine

However it is not possible to say how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit. The way alcohol affects you depends on:

  • your weight, age, sex and metabolism (the rate your body uses energy)
  • the type and amount of alcohol you’re drinking
  • what you’ve eaten recently
  • your stress levels at the time

So if you’re driving, it’s better to have none for the road.

The consequences

If you are convicted of drink driving, including:

  • A minimum 12 month driving ban
  • A criminal record
  • A hefty fine
  • Up to 6 months in prison
  • An endorsement on your licence for 11 years

However, this list does not reflect the everyday consequences of being caught drink driving which can include:

  • Increase in car insurance costs
  • Job loss
  • Trouble getting in to countries like the USA
  • The shame of having a criminal record
  • Loss of independence

The Institute of Advanced Motorists calculate that a drink drive conviction could cost between £20,000 - £50,000 as a result of fines, solicitors fees, increase in car insurance and loss of job

Advice

Beware the morning after:

You could be over the legal limit many hours after your last drink, even if it's the 'morning after'. Sleep, coffee and cold showers don't help to sober you up - time is the only way to get alcohol out of your system.

There is no excuse for drink driving

  • I can handle my drink.
  • Alcohol affects everybody's driving for the worse. It creates a feeling of overconfidence, makes judging distance and speed more difficult and slows your reactions so it takes longer to stop
  • "I'm only going down the road."
  • A large proportion of all drink drive crashes occur within three miles of the start of the journey.

If you're planning to drink alcohol, plan how to get home without driving
Options include agreeing on a designated driver, saving a taxi number to your phone, or finding out about public transport routes and times before you go out.

Don't offer an alcoholic drink to someone you know is planning to drive
Even if you're not driving, you can help reduce the number of people who are killed and injured every year by drink driving.

Don't accept a lift from a driver you know has drunk alcohol