4. Improving overall road safety

While we might never be able to fully eliminate the dangers of driving, there are steps which could be taken to make things significantly safer for everyone. Let’s now explore some of the methods which could lead to an increased level of road safety.

Extra driver training and courses

After passing our driving test a lot of us somewhat naively think we’re able to handle any situation which might arise on the road. In reality, we’re still a long way from being prepared for the dangers of the world – which is why investing in some post-passing courses is a great way to heighten our safety levels.

There are a series of training exercises and schedules which can make a massive difference to how you find yourself driving after you pass your test:

  • Proactive training – on these courses, you’ll effectively find all the skills you acquired as a learner tweaked to make your abilities as close to perfect as possible. Your teacher will monitor how you drive and where you could improve, before focusing your lessons around increasing your confidence and ability in these areas – whether it be on country lanes, urban areas or any other location.
  • Refresher training – this type of training often comes after you’ve experienced an incident or accident in the past, and sees you go back to basics somewhat. The aim here is to tackle something you’ve shown a clear weakness for in the past and ensure you don’t make the same mistakes again.
  • Skid avoidance and control – it sometimes feels impossible to maintain control of your car in certain situations, especially on icy roads. We don’t really get much practice when it comes to driving on surfaces like this, which is why specialist courses have been designed to help you become accustomed the skills required to tackle this potential hazard.
  • Continental driving conversion – not all roads across the world are the same. If you learnt to drive in the UK, you’ll find it challenging to come to terms with the nature of foreign routes – primarily because they drive on the opposite side of the road to us. You’ll learn how to effectively drive on a ‘mirror track’, as you get used to things being reversed.
  • UK Familiarisation – it’s not just UK drivers who need to become accustomed to driving in foreign conditions. For anyone who now calls this country home, it might be prudent to take some lessons with a driving instructor who informs them of the potential dangers associated with driving on British roads.
  • Pass Plus – this is probably the most common form of driving course for people with a license, and sees newly-qualified road users taught how to traverse the motorway under the careful tutelage of an instructor. Learners are not permitted to tackle the motorway during their lessons, so this is a useful first taste for them.

These are just a handful of the many different types of courses available to drivers who want to do everything they can to prevent disaster from striking. These lessons won’t completely guarantee your safety, but will at least boost your chances of avoiding an accident.

Speed and driving awareness

Perhaps more important than taking any of these courses, you need to have a strong grasp over your speed. After all, this has the greatest potential to cause death on the roads if you fail to monitor it correctly.

In the case of speeding it’s common for people who break the law to be forced to take part in a course which serves to improve their speed awareness. To qualify for this, you’ll have to have sped within specific regulations. For example:

  • 30mph zone – 35mph to 42mph
  • Motorway – 79mph and 86mph

Anyone travelling above these speeds is likely to be instantly slapped with a fine and points on their license.

For those who do qualify, the programme which is most commonly offered is the National Speed Awareness Course (NSAC), which sees a half-day of learning attempt to help you make huge inroads into your speed awareness and management.

The course will teach you things like:

  • Recognising speed limits in every area you drive
  • Addressing the reason why you might be speeding
  • The required knowledge to ensure you don’t end up speeding in the future

If you’re asked to get involved in one of these training sessions by the police, you’ll be able to avoid getting a fine and a Fixed Penalty Notice upon completion. Perhaps most importantly of all, you’ll also not receive any points on your license.

There will be a maximum of 24 people on the course at any given time, with the age ranges of the people varying from 17 upwards. There are no set restrictions on who can and can’t be asked to attend one of these events by the police.

Simple ways to improve road safety

Sometimes improving your road safety is a lot simpler than having to take part in a lengthy and potentially expensive course. There are a lot of other ways in which you can make a difference to the levels of road safety for both you and those around you. Here are 10 simplistic tips which will make everyone’s journey that little bit easier:

1)Wear a helmet (on a motorcycle)

Whilst we don’t advise slapping a helmet on your head if you’re safely confined within your vehicle, it’s a necessity if you want to ride a motorcycle on the road. Research has found head injuries are decreased by 88% when a cyclist elects to use a helmet. Your brain is effectively who you are as a person, and the last thing you’ll want to do is damage it.

2)Heighten visibility

Drivers will often moan at pedestrians or cyclists for failing to wear clothing which makes them stand out on dark nights – so why should you be any different in a car? We’re not suggesting padding your car out in some high-vis colours, but rather doing simple things like keeping your headlights on when needed and remembering to indicate at every junction and roundabout.

3)Reduce speed

It’s a somewhat naïve trait of certain drivers to believe they’re in control of the car at all times, regardless of their speed. It’s amazing how much of a difference it’ll make to go as little as 5mph slower. Hitting someone at 35mph means you’re twice as likely to kill them as you would when going at 30mph. Stay aware of how quickly you’re going at all times.

4)Use a driver assistance system

Purchasing a car with additional features that make driving easier for you might be seen as a shortcut by some, but it will go a long way to raising your road safety levels. Technology like motion sensors, alcohol detectors and even systems which help you communicate with other vehicles and help you perform emergency stops will make your drive safer.

5)Wear a seatbelt

This is something we’re taught to do as a kid, but as we get older and ‘wiser’ we tend to be complacent and neglect basic safety measures. Strapping on your seatbelt will make a world of difference when it comes to preventing a fatality during a crash, and, with it now the law to wear one at all times, failing to do so could hand you with a hefty fine and penalty points.

6)Child safety seats

If you don’t want to heighten your own safety levels, at least think of the children. Strapping them into a safety seat has been proven to increase their chances of survival in a high-speed collision by as much as a whopping 71%.

Introducing any of these measures on the road will have a hugely beneficial impact on how you drive and how safe you’re keeping yourself and those around you.