Advertorial : How to reduce risk while driving

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

M6 Motorway

The freedom of the road can be an empowering thing, but driving will always involve a certain amount of risk. According to government statistics, an average of 10 people are killed in road accidents in the UK every day, and 100 are seriously injured – and 95% of these accidents are due to driver error. While these may be sobering statistics, the massive influence of driver skill in road safety means that it is possible to significantly reduce risk while driving, simply by being a better driver.

Before you even start the engine, there are three important considerations: the condition of the vehicle, the driver and the road. A safe car is a road legal car, with everything from correct tyre pressure to an adequate supply of screen wash taken care of before any journey commences. As a driver, you should be alert, free of serious fatigue, and in general fit to drive both physically and mentally – without any medication or other substances such as alcohol in your system that could impair driving skill. All unnecessary distractions should be avoided while driving, and a mobile phone should only be used with an appropriate hands free kit, and for essential calls.

The condition of the road should always inform the way that you drive, as it has a significant impact on such fundamental factors as the safe driving speed for a given stretch of road, and what constitutes a safe braking distance. Headlights should be used in all low light conditions, regardless of the time of day – your lights don’t only help you see at night, they make your car easier to see for other road users during overcast daylight hours.

Safe driving is basically defensive driving. Early observation and the regular use of your mirrors can help you anticipate the possible actions of other drivers, so that you can stay one step ahead, while the consistent use of your own signals can ensure that you don’t give other drivers any sudden surprises. In fact, avoiding the sudden and unexpected, whether this is changing lanes or braking, is a good general rule, but being able to put this theory into practice if often more of a matter of experience than skill.

Thankfully, it is possible to pick up a lot of this acumen before you have spent years on the road. An Advanced Driving course can be an invaluable shortcut to developing the enhanced observation and driving skills that can seriously reduce your risk when you take to the road – drivers who have passed the advanced driving test are 50-75% less likely to cause an accident.

Advanced Driving courses are based on the ‘Roadcraft’ system used to train police drivers, and as well as increasing the safety of you and your passengers when you drive, holding an Advanced Driving Certificate can also help you save money on your car insurance premiums. As a less risky driver, you are less likely to make a claim on your car insurance, and this fact is recognised through the reduced premiums offered by many leading insurers – and of course, the longer you can avoid making a claim, the more No Claims Discount you can build up, which can again reduce your premium by over 50%.

This information was provided to you by Allianz Your Cover
www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk.

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

16 Comments

  1. 10 killed per day and 100 injured (seriously).

    The car driver is a weapon of mass destruction, too many stupid cars on the road and too many immature drivers

  2. All very poignant for me this weekend. We have had a client’s team member killed in a road accident whilst undertaking her supervisory role.
    I have been advocating defensive driver training for three years but was finally asked to stop bringing it to the agenda as there was no chance of doing it. We will never know if such training would have saved her life.
    They have e mailed me today asking for help!
    I have been involved in driver training for over 23 years and fail to understand why drivers and management have such initial resistance to it.
    When I run pre-assessment sessions, the body language of delegates changes visibly within a quarter of an hour – so many people can see the wisdom and start to get involved in shortening journey times whilst reducing risk. The average driver wastes so much time and effort. Defensive driving is so satisfying to do. Working through RoSPA’s fail/bronze/silver and Gold system and finally gaining the Diploma is the ultimate. It is also relatively cheap to do. (No – I don’t work for RoSPA!)
    Incidentally, RITTBO’s (running into the back of) is the most popular RTA.
    Drivers have the fixed impression that if the car in front suddenly slows down when they are following it at 70mph within 2 cars length (that’s about a quarter of a second in real terms) – they will react. They won’t – they can’t – not even if they are bionic man! At 2 seconds they will struggle but at five cars length (3.5 seconds) they will in most cases manage it. Watch for cars following in these circumstances – see how many are 5 cars behind!

  3. I still have the X-ray eyes which grew behind my ears while commuting down the M4 in Welsh Wales in a van. Junction 32 Westbound was particularly bad for ladies in Fords cruising into my blind spot.

  4. Too much suicidal tailgating on the road. People become arrogant, aggressive, confrontational and dangerous when behind the wheel of a vehicle.
    They seem to believe they can change the laws of physics. They are stupid. Tailgating far too closely does not get anyone to their destination any quicker.
    The worst offenders are white van man and middle aged men in German cars.
    The vans are easy to deal with as long as there is a company name on it. An e-mail to the company detailing the incident (ie tailgating/ aggressive driving) together with the reg. number/ time/ place etc. These people do not like being disciplined by their boss. Reap what you sow!

  5. Yes indeed. It keeps me occupied reporting them in my spare time. And a great deal of satisfaction. I can just imagine the next day at work for Mr Van Man…..manager to employee, “Mick, I need to have a word. We’ve had a complaint……”
    Van man is not so smug then. Love it.

  6. Wolseley Man : it may be churlish to point this out, but your arithmetic just does not make sense . If 2 cars length is about a quarter of a second at 70 mph ( not in fact a bad estimate since is equates to perhaps 120 fps ) then 5 cars’ length is NOT 3.5 seconds , but at 70 mph is more like 0.6 seconds . The ” 2 second rule ” is a very good rule to follow, and at 70 mph = 205 feet, which equates to about 14 car lengths . If you are teaching other people, it helps to get the facts right

  7. @10 – Christopher, my apologies – you are absolutely right. My 5 (five) should have read 15 – comes of responding quickly before flying out the door and not re-reading my text. I didn’t pick up that auto- correct had changed fifteen to five as well!
    Apologies to all.

  8. @8 Please feel free to ring Greencore re: co-op edenfield rd manchester delivery driver,for his own safety,he does 65 in a 40 rain,snow and ice.
    And hes getting on my nerves!

  9. @12 e-mail the company with reg. no, date, time etc and he should get disciplined. I usually end the e-mail with, “…and if I do not get a satisfactory explanation for your employees aggressive, confrontational driving manner I shall be escalating this matter by contacting your companies chief executive.” Or words to that effect.
    As I live in Ipswich, Suffolk I am too far away to have witnessed your local white van man in Manchester!

  10. …………….and I am far too busy reporting all the idiotic, aggressive, brain-dead drivers in Suffolk!!! If only I got paid for every e-mail I sent I could retire.
    Either I am a right Victor Meldrew or there are far too many aggressive drivers on the road who damn well deserve to get reported. I could understand the former but I’ll agree with the latter. “Reap what you sow.”

  11. Its sorted,i got the swivel sign off him this morning so while he was in store i cut the loom to the crankshaft sensor on his van and rang the company advising the difficulties their driver will be having continuing todays duties.

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