Don’t be caught out this winter – keep yourself and others safe on the road

It’s that time of year again, when it’s cold, dark and damp outside. Spirits can wain but we happily replace all of our negative energy with that of festivities and happiness. However, it is always worth bearing in mind that you do not want your festivities to be spoilt by an accident that could have been prevented.

RAM Tracking Road Safety Week

Driving in the winter months throws up more potential hazards that you may not be used to if you have not driven in these conditions before.

Running from November 19-25, Road Safety Week was held in the UK to help improve the safety of the roads. Citing from the Road Safety Week website, road crashes are not road accidents; they are preventable and must be stopped.

I think the main thing I would want you take away after reading this post is the fact that even though Road Safety Week finished on November 25, it doesn’t mean that the problem has disappeared. I’m sure you will agree with me. The idea of the week was to raise awareness but it also brings up some key points that are relevant especially in conjunction with the upcoming festive period. As a driver on the roads you have a responsibility to keep yourself and others safe.

Do not be tempted to take the stress of Christmas shopping out on the car. We all know the problems that can be caused from this. It’s December, one of the busiest shopping months of the year and this can raise blood pressure due to the stresses of long queues, unavailability of requested gifts, high prices and busy shops. Make sure you drive calm; if you drive whilst feeling pent up then you are more likely to be involved in an accident due to your lack of concentration. Focus yourself when you are in the car and do not let the stresses get to you. Take deep breaths, and ask yourself are you safe to drive? Remember that a momentary lapse of reason from you could potentially ruin somebody’s life; it’s just not worth the risk. Other drivers will be on the road and you must be aware of them.

Your defensive driving skills are extremely important and have to be used to your advantage. Be aware of other drivers who may not be as experienced on the roads, such as learner drivers and those who seem to be driving in a dangerous manner. You should not have to tolerate this on the roads however, if you are prepared to deal with these other badly behaving drivers, you will be able to keep yourself safe.

Ram Tracking Road Safety Week

“Beware of snow covered roads this winter. Children are likely to be playing in the street, making snowmen and running about. Be alert when driving past the bottom of hills, because sledging children may not be able to risk assess as well as a driver and will have difficulty in bringing their sledges to a standstill” – Matt Jones.

Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is rightly illegal and should not be done. This is an important fact to remember, especially at Christmas, as what could be seen by someone as an innocent mistake could result in tragedy. What I’m trying to get across here is that you may not even realise you are over the limit; but that is no excuse in the eyes of the law. If you are drinking the previous evening then this action could result in you still being unsafe to drive in the morning. The best advice I can give you is not to drink anything at all if you are going to be driving and monitor your consumption if you will need to drive the following day to make sure you are safe.

Laws and speed limits are there for a reason and they are not something that you can ignore. In fact, when driving at this time of year, you should be slowing down as the roads will be busy, but also conditions are more likely to be bad. Bad driving conditions are a critical factor at this time of year; black ice could result in you losing control of your vehicle, so make sure you are prepared for this. Driving in the winter months throws up more potential hazards that you may not be used to if you have not driven in these conditions before.

Visibility can be noticeably poor, so make sure you de-ice fully and can see out from the entirety of your windscreen, as even with a clear windscreen you will still have blind spots.

If you ride a bike, remember to use your lights and make yourself as visible as possible. High visibility jackets are available to buy and are definitely worth the investment as I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be sat in a hospital bed over the festive period.

Plan for long journeys, make sure you set out a decent time scale and take regular intervals at this time of year as it can be tiring driving in dark conditions. You need to keep yourself and your passengers’ safe as you have a duty of care to them.

Beware of snow covered roads this winter. Children are likely to be playing in the street, making snowmen and running about. Be alert when driving past the bottom of hills, because sledging children may not be able to risk assess as well as a driver and will have difficulty in bringing their sledges to a standstill.

If you can understand the dangers, then you will be in a better position to avoid accidents and drive safely. I hope you have an excellent and accident-free Christmas season. Drive safely and remember a moment of madness is not worth a lifetime of regret.

Matt Jones, on behalf of RAM Tracking

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