Britain’s roads are busier than ever – from jammed motorways to busy high streets. But whether you’re a driver or a pedestrian, one thing has always been true: safety comes first! To help you stay safe, here’s what to watch out for.
Stop, look and listen
It’s never too early to start making children aware of the dangers of the road – even if you know they’re being taught how to stay safe at school or nursery. Repeating the most important safety messages makes sure they ‘stick’. The three-step process for crossing the road is well known. But also vital is making sure children know what a ‘safe place to cross’ looks like. The basics are:
- Use a pedestrian crossing, underpass or footbridge if available
- If not, look for a crossing point near traffic lights or with a pedestrian island in the middle of the road
- If that’s not possible, look for a policeman, traffic warden or school crossing patrol (Lollipop Person)
- Never even cross between parked cars – you must have a clear view both ways and be visible to motorists both ways
Much of this advice applies to adults too! Remember, taking any kind of risk when you cross the road simply isn’t worth it, even if you’re in a hurry.
Stay bright at night
For both child and adult pedestrians, wearing bright clothes at night is a must. If possible, fluorescent clothing should be worn. Night drivers run a greater risk of having accidents, so the more you help them to see you, the better.
Wear a seatbelt
For drivers, wearing a seatbelt isn’t just the law; it’s a life-saver. Even at slow speeds, a collision can result in significant injury – especially to the neck, back and head. And in the event of a high speed crash, the results are usually fatal. Remember too, if your car is fitted with rear seatbelts, they must be used by passengers. Young children and infants must use a proper car/booster seat.
Watch your speed
Speed is one of the biggest factors in fatal road accidents. The risk of killing a pedestrian is approximately four times higher when travelling at 40mph instead of 30mph. So, stick to the limit – especially round schools and built up areas.
Never drink or drug drive
You are many times more likely to have an accident that could lead to significant injuries or fatalities if you take to wheel after drinking alcohol or drugs. You’re not just risking your life, you’re putting passengers and pedestrians at risk too.
Take a break
Driving ‘tired’ leads to disaster, as your judgment and concentration are severely impaired. Research shows that around 20% of fatal road accidents on major roads are sleep-related. If you feel drowsy, you must stop and take a break.
Avoid a bad call
The laws on using your phone while driving are growing ever tougher – and with good reason. Texting or conducting calls on your phone makes you four times more likely to have a crash.
Fiona Gardener has worked as a first aid instructor in Scotland for over 10 years. She sees far too many accidents involving road users and hopes this article will help everyone be more aware and visible on the road.