The roads in the UK have never been busier. There have never been as many motorists as there are today, with congestion a regular sight on roads all across the country. As well as there being more traffic, the sheer volume of vehicles also means that roads deteriorate at a quicker rate. When you put more cars and poorer roads together, you end up with a recipe for more accidents.
So, what can you do to avoid getting involved in an accident? Awareness of what to expect can help you be more vigilant of potential incidents before they happen. Here is our breakdown of the most common causes of accidents and some tips on how you can avoid them.
The most common type of accident you can have on the road is to have someone drive into the back of you when you have stopped your car. This can be at traffic lights or a junction, or when you are slowing down to make a turn. Being rear-ended can range from a slight bump, to something altogether more dangerous with your car being pushed out into oncoming traffic.
So what are the causes? The big one is a lack of focus on the road. Mobile phones are a major culprit, with drivers taking their attention off the road to send a text or check their messages. A sudden change of traffic light or need to brake can catch these drivers off guard, and they will not be able to stop in time.
If you are driving, you should keep your attention on the road at all times. Don’t use your phone unless you have a hands-free kit, and even then you should ensure it doesn’t distract you.
If you are bringing your car to a stop, check your rear-view mirror and see if the driver is paying attention. If they aren’t and it’s safe for you to do so, you might want to avoid braking and see if you can take another turning instead. If you cannot avoid an impact, tell your passengers to brace themselves.
You should also ensure that your brake lights are in good working order at all times. Dashcams and rear-view cameras can help with insurance claims afterwards, so you may want to consider installing them.
Getting in and out of a tight car parking space can be difficult for even the most experienced drivers. You can often be so focused on moving your car into the space, ensuring you don’t scrape the cars beside you, that you can lose sight of your surroundings.
The same can be the case when you are in a car park looking for a space. You might be so desperate to find somewhere that you lose sight of cars reversing out, leading to an impact.
These car park bumps and scrapes don’t generally result in injuries, but they can cause whiplash and expensive insurance claims.
Awareness is once again the key. When you are searching for your space, take your time and drive slowly through the car park. Don’t be afraid to toot your horn to alert a driver if they are reversing. Patience is another virtue that will help you, so if you spot someone struggling, stay back and give them time to complete their manoeuvre.
If you are reversing out of a space, you should again take your time and be sure to constantly check your surroundings. If it is a particularly tight space or you aren’t feeling confident, don’t be afraid to ask a passenger or someone nearby to help you reverse out of the space.
One of the saddest causes of accidents on the road is through accidents caused by drunk drivers. Not just by their own careless driving, but by drivers taking evasive action to avoid a collision with someone who is under the influence behind the wheel.#
You’d think the solution to this would be obvious – don’t drink alcohol and then get behind the wheel of your car. If you are heading out, choose someone to be a designated driver. If that’s you, don’t have a drink, no matter how many you think you can have and still be fine. If it’s someone else, make sure they stick to their plan and don’t start drinking. If you suspect the driver is drunk, get a taxi instead. And you should try to take the keys away from them too if possible.
If you are on the road and spot someone who you think is drunk, slow down and give them plenty of space. Don’t try and overtake them and, if they are behind you, make room for them to pass.
Another major cause of accidents is driving too fast. Speed limits are in place for safety above all else and you should stick to them to ensure you have the right amount of control for the type of road you are on. But the issue is other drivers. Some are so desperate to get where they want to go, that they will drive especially recklessly to overtake those they deem to be driving too slowly.
We’ve already mentioned sticking to the speed limits. But if someone is driving right close behind you and forcing you to go faster, you should try to remain calm. If you can move to one side and let them pass, that would be best. Otherwise begin to slow down and let them overtake you.
In 2017, 1,793 people were killed on the road in Britain, with 24,381 people seriously injured. Many of these accidents can be avoided by taking your time and slowing down. If you are fully concentrating on the road and aware of your surroundings, you stand the best chance of anticipating incidents before they are happening.
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