It’s hard to imagine life these days without cars. Simply getting to and from work, doing the school run and taking trips to the shops can be nigh on impossible without our trusty vehicles to get us from A to B. However, using the roads can be risky.
Highlighting this fact, figures from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) show that in 2013 alone, there were 190 road deaths in Ireland.
Statistics like this can be scary and they draw attention to the need for a proactive approach to road safety. One issue to consider is car insurance. It may not be possible to completely eliminate the risk of accidents, but by seeking suitable cover with the help of specialist brokers like Chill Insurance, you can at least rest assured that your finances will be protected in the event of a collision.
Meanwhile, the following tips should help you to keep danger to a minimum when you’re behind the wheel.
Make sure your vehicle’s in tiptop condition
One key to staying safe is to keep your car in good condition. Simple vehicle checks can help you to avoid a whole range of driving disasters. For example, be sure to examine your tyres every couple of weeks or before long journeys, keeping a lookout for signs of wear and tear or punctures.
It’s wise to monitor your tyre pressures too as under or over inflation can affect grip and braking performance. Keep a close eye on your lights as well, and ensure your windscreen is free of chips and has fully functional wiper blades. Your windscreen washer fluid should topped up on a regular basis too.
Take your car for regular servicing as well so that any potential mechanical problems are detected and fixed before they have a chance to pose a safety threat.
Take extra care on country roads
With their twists, turns and unexpected hazards, country roads can pose a real safety threat. When negotiating rural routes, bear in mind that the speed limit isn’t a target. As a rule of thumb, stick to a speed that will allow you to stop in the distance you can see to be clear. Also, try to anticipate potential dangers, looking out for blind summits and concealed entrances. Meanwhile, if you get stuck behind a slow moving vehicle, be patient and only overtake when you’re certain it’s safe.
Only get behind the wheel while in the right frame of mind
To keep safety standards up on the highways, only get behind the wheel if you’re in the right frame of mind. If you’re feeling excessively tired or you’re over the legal alcohol limit, your ability to react to road conditions will be severely impaired.
Don’t let yourself be put off by in-car distractions either, including mobile phones. According to the RSA, phones make drivers four times more likely to crash and they play a role in 20% to 30% of all road collisions. It’s illegal to drive while using a handheld mobile in Ireland and it’s also an offence to read or send text messages while driving.
Brush up on the rules of the road
It might sound obvious, but it’s vital to make sure you have detailed knowledge of the rules of the road. If a long time has passed since your test, your awareness of highway regulations may no longer be up-to-scratch. Every so often, it’s useful to re-read the regulations, focussing on things like traffic signs, road markings, speed limits and stopping distances.
By following advice like this, you stand a better chance of staying safe on the highways.