After passing your driving test it's important to put into practice the skills you've learned over the months or even years of lessons. The test itself is designed to provide a thorough assessment of your driving ability, but once passed it's all too easy to slip into some bad habits.
Driving in many differing conditions can often be stressful. In order to ensure a safe commute, whether it's to college, university or even for leisure purposes, you need to be as relaxed and rested as possible. Some of the key skills to maintain during your driving hours include concentration, anticipation and observation. Despite this, mistakes will happen and how you react to these is ever-important.
For this reason, how you respond to other road users will also become crucial. Impatience or bad habits such as tailgating or undertaking are frowned upon and only lead to more accidents on British roads. Rather than reacting poorly to a mistake from another motorist, try to relax and in turn, your driving won't be affected.
That's not to say you won't be stressed when commuting. Any on-road problems such as traffic and congestion will get to you, as will the time spent pondering financial problems, family matters or even work-related issues.
To avoid road rage, it's important to put yourself in the right frame of mind for driving. Avoid seeing 'red mist' and you'll make your commute and the roads a safer place.
One of the key ways to avoid road rage and being stressed when driving is preparation. Plan your journey well in advance, ensuring to leave plenty of time. This will keep you from rushing on the roads and as such, letting the stress levels build-up.
It may be easier said than done, but when driving look to avoid overreacting to other motorists, panicking or breaking speed limits. For instance, competing with another motorist on the road could easily lead to an accident where one or both of you could be seriously injured.
You should also try to remain calm, rather than irritated by another's behaviour. Flashing your headlights or beeping the horn will only make the situation worse, whilst deliberately trying to make eye contact could exacerbate the situation. If you ever find yourself in a situation where a fellow motorist is following too closely, don't change your driving methods and instead find a safe place to pull over and allow the vehicle to pass.
If your actions are responsible for causing another motorist to lose their temper, it's easy to hold your hand up as a signal of apology and acknowledge the error. On most occasions, even though the other driver may be irritated, they'll be more accepting.
Once you've reached your destination, try to think about what caused you to become angered or irritated whilst driving. By understanding how you were affected, you'll be in a better position to safeguard against this in the future.
Other than rage, one of the greatest problems on the road is tiredness. Surprisingly there are a large number of drivers who'll fall asleep at the wheel and turning up the radio or opening a window won't hold off your tiredness for long.
Of course, in order to avoid tiredness affecting your driving, it's simply important to spot the warning signs early on and rest as required. Our tips to avoid tiredness-related incidents are:
In an ideal world we'd be able to commute on clear days, where visibility is excellent. However, this isn't always possible and whether it's at night or because of seasonal weather, we won't always be able to travel in perfect conditions.
It's little surprise there are more incidents on the road at night than during the day. With that said though, there are plenty of measures you can take to ensure reducing the risks and have a safer commute in the darkness.
First of all you'll want to plan your journey in advance. If you'll be commuting for a long period with others, you may want to consider sharing the load. Whether you're alone or with others though, make sure to be well rested and if possible avoid times you'd otherwise be asleep. If this isn't possible, look to plan appropriate rest periods every two hours.
Now let's turn to the car lights. From both a legal and safety standpoint, you need to ensure your vehicle has fully functioning headlights and rear lights. On dark country lanes in particular, lights are the only way a fellow motorist will see you, whilst they'll also be illuminating your journey.
At night there's also the potential for hazards to become more of a problem. The chances are you'll spot hazards late compared to day commuting. Therefore, slowing down is highly advised to ensure not being caught out.
Unsurprisingly, as many as 40% of road incidents occur in the hours of darkness, with the potential to fall asleep just one of the various problems.
Throughout driving lessons, the chances are students wouldn't have undertaken any practice at night. As such, the Pass Plus scheme is highly recommended and is taken once you've passed your driving test.
However, it's not just youngsters who feel uncomfortable driving at night. Even the most experienced drivers can balk at the prospect of night driving and if required, the RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders Group can offer further training.
The biggest problem with British weather is its unpredictable nature. There are so many elements you could come face to face with on the road, including ice, snow, rain and fog and as such, you should be well prepared for whatever comes your way. Different hazards present themselves depending on the weather, so driving safely and within the speed limits is essential.
When the poor weather hits, usually in the autumn and winter months, try to apply the A, B, C:
When the weather really does turn for the worse, your best bet would be to avoid driving completely. In particular, try to avoid the roads when there is snow forecasted. Remember, if the trip's not essential, there's little point in taking the risk.
Even if the day is clear when you set off, that's no promise the weather will hold. For this reason it's important to ensure your vehicle is well maintained and has an up-to-date MOT.
Things to check include:
There are also some great tips you can take on board and apply to all weather driving conditions:
Even the most experienced of drivers will have incorporated bad habits into their routine. These habits are often as a way to make life easier by speeding up the journey and through laziness. For young drivers it's particularly easy to quickly slip into bad habits.
As such, you should try to avoid the following bad habits:
Distracted driving has a significant impact when it comes to road accidents and collisions. This distraction can take many forms too, including changing a CD, setting your Sat Nav, putting on make-up and even eating. Try to avoid anything that'll take your eyes from the road and you'll instantly improve safety.
This may be illegal but you'd be surprised at just how many people still take the risk of driving when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Both will impair your judgement and slow reaction times, so rather than putting yourself and passengers at risk, simply walk or book a taxi.
The speed limits are in place for a reason and no matter whether you feel you're at crawling pace or not, it's important to obey these rules of the road. Up to a third of road accidents can be attributed to excessive speeds, so no matter if you're in a 30mph limit or on the motorway, keep to the recommendation.
Why is this still a nationwide problem? It's staggering how people still commute and won't buckle up before setting off. Seat belts are a basic safety measure to help protect you in the event of a collision and will reduce the risk of injury by up to 50%.
This is a common practice amongst those in a rush. Rather than maintaining a safe distance from the car in front, they'll instead hang off the back of the vehicle, waiting for the opportunity to perform a risky overtake. Give yourself time for every journey and ensure you're not hurrying around.
Your vehicle should be well maintained to ensure it's able to protect you in the event of a collision. This includes putting air in your tyres, replacing worn wiper blades and checking the oil levels regularly.