improving your driving skills for better on-road safety

improving your driving skills for better on-road safety

Driver safety is of paramount importance to everyone that uses the UK’s busy roads. From protecting yourself and your vehicle to ensuring that other road users and pedestrians can move freely with peace of mind. For some people, this might mean working on improving your driving skills and becoming more confident behind the wheel.

In this guide, we will discuss the importance of safe driving as well as steps you can take to become a better driver.

Why is it essential to be a safe driver?

It might seem like an odd question because the answer should be obvious, but we’ve all been on the road when another driver has made a bad decision or mistake that was seconds away from causing severe damage. For some drivers, it is a matter of confidence, and for others, it is a lack of awareness or concentration. The result of most of these errors could be catastrophic if it weren’t for the quick reactions of other drivers on the road.

Being a safe driver doesn’t just mean obeying road laws and ensuring you are not a danger to others, it is also about having the ability to analyse situations and reacting to them in a safe and timely manner. You can be the best driver on the road, but if you are surrounded by bad drivers, there is still a risk.

How can I become a more confident driver?

Becoming confident behind the wheel is a matter of control and concentration, and it comes with experience. New drivers are likely to be more nervous than those with more experience, and there is a sense of apprehension that other drivers will be impatient as you learn. Everyone was a new driver once, so stay calm and try not to rush for others.

If you have had your licence for a while, but you still have that sense of nerves when you get on the road, practice makes perfect. Also, be sure you are prepared. It is wise to know your route before you set off, and going online to check traffic or any other road-related issues can help you be ready for anything that may crop up during your journey. Another way to improve confidence is to know your car. Every vehicle drives differently, so making sure you know yours inside out is an excellent way to help you understand your vehicle and notice when things might not be right.

Why is vehicle safety important?

It’s not just your driving ability that influences road safety - the make, model, and age of your car can all have a marked effect as well. For example, an older car with history is unlikely to be as safe as some other vehicles. It is important to ensure you are driving a car that is as safe as possible; this might mean looking at official safety ratings, historical repairs, and the current MOT certificate, among other things.

To ensure you have as much knowledge of your car as possible, we recommend getting a vehicle check before you make a purchase. It will give you information about MOTs, repair history, whether the car has been stolen, or written-off.

What are four safety features in a car?

When you start looking for a new vehicle, you should consider the safety features that come as part of your chosen make or model. Among the most important features are:

  • Airbags
    Airbags are a standard safety feature in many new and used cars. Deploying at the moment of impact, they are known to help protect drivers and passengers from injuries resulting from a collision. If you are buying a used car, check that all airbags are certified as operational.
  • ABS (Anti Lock Brake System)
    ABS stops your wheels from locking when you apply force to the brakes. If your wheels become locked, you may spin out on uneven or slippery surfaces which will likely result in an accident. ABS is one of the more modern safety features found in cars, and newer cars also have AEB (autonomous emergency braking) whereby the car applies the brakes if it senses a collision is about to happen.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
    This is a relatively new feature that you might not find on some older used cars. Adaptive cruise control allows you to maintain a constant distance from the car in front. If it slows down, so do you, and if it speeds up you will also. It helps you maintain a safe separation from the vehicle ahead. 
  • Adaptive Headlights
    Being temporarily blinded by the high beams of oncoming traffic is incredibly dangerous and can result in serious accidents, all down to someone not flipping back to a low beam. Now, you can buy cars with adaptive headlights, which change the brightness by assessing the elevation of your vehicle, as well as being able to turn to face whichever way the car is facing. Both these make for better visibility and help other road users drive without worry.

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