By Jamie McMackin
Everyone knows how important it is to wear your safety belt as a driver and also as a passenger in the car every time you travel. But there are also several less considered but equally as important safety tactics that you should consider in order to protect you and your passengers.
Respect the Driver
As part of a campaign aimed at young drivers which is highlighted during National Teen Driver Safety Week, peer leaders and teachers are encouraged to make young people aware of the importance of respecting the driver. Safer driving is encouraged by making passengers aware of the dangers of distracting the driver and not behaving in a way that could cause an accident when the driver loses their concentration as a result of what is going on around them. Although this is a campaign primarily aimed at making students and younger drivers aware that bad or noisy behaviour in the car can cause an accident, it is a valuable safety tip that we can all take on board. Respect the driver and help them to get you to your destination as safely as possible whilst keeping distractions to a minimum is a practise that will reduce the number of unnecessary accidents on the road if followed.
Know your vehicle
How well do you know the workings of your car? Many of us simply rely on the systems and safety features that come with the car in order to keep us safe but all car manufactures strongly suggest that ultimate protection is only required with a bit of knowledge and effort on the part of the driver and their passengers as well. Vehicle owners should familiarize themselves with where the air-bags are and make sure that sufficient room has been allowed for them to deploy properly. If a driver or passenger is leaning against a door or has their feet propped up on the dash just where the air bags are located, there could be a problem and a preventable injury could occur. The driver should leave at least 10 inches of space between their head and the steering wheel in order for the air bag to work correctly in the event of an impact. Knowing where the air bags are located and where the hazard light switch is together with any safety immobilizer device switches will save time in an emergency and allow you to cope with a traumatic situation more calmly.
Just as driving too fast is certainly dangerous, driving too slowly can actually be more dangerous than speeding in certain situations. In high density traffic situations with many other users also sharing the road, a dawdler can create what is almost a roadblock. You should always aim to drive with the flow of the traffic and try not to hold up the flow whilst staying within legal speed limits. Understanding the use and consequences of speed is one of the crucial safety tips that you should consider learning more about in order to enjoy a statistically safer motoring experience. Learn to use your judgement in order to match your speed to the conditions, so that when it is raining or snowing you can stop and control your vehicle with the same efficiency as when it is clear and dry. Having basic speed awareness and thinking about the conditions you are driving in, will make you a safer driver and confirms that you know road safety is not just about buckling up but requires a bit of extra effort and thinking to maximize your chances of keeping you and your passengers safe.
Jamie McMackin is an amateur rally driver. He enjoys sharing his safety tips and insights on various driving blogs. Find out more about driving experiences on the Wish.co.uk website.