Don’t feel the need for speed: stay road-safe

Driving – a perilous, seat of your pants ride or a smooth, silky movement from point A to point B? That’s up to you.

Indeed, safety on the roads is never guaranteed but, if you’re a boy racer or have your head in the clouds while your foot’s on the gas, there are many ways to make the roads a whole lot worse.

According to government sources, there were 24,580 killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties in 2013 – a figure three per cent higher than in 2012.

It’s an easy mistake to make for frequent drivers. You casually step up a gear to get to your destination quicker, gain complacency in your confidence until, as you stare into space with one hand on the wheel, you collide with another car, feeling whiplash coarse through your spine – or worse.

After this, you could make a car crash claim (provided the accident wasn’t your fault). But in an ideal world, you wouldn’t suffer a crash at all.

With that in mind, here are a few tips to keep yourself safe on the roads.

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Keep your car in check

Blustering, sputtering motors can be a nightmare to maintain. Between insurance, MOTs, random repairs and additional safety features, actually affording to keep your car in tiptop condition is difficult enough.

But it’s worth the cash to know you’re in a supremely safe vehicle. Be sure to have your motor checked by a professional at regular intervals. While you might resent forking out for check-ups, it beats having your engine fall out of your bonnet in the middle of a busy motorway.

Don’t get distracted

You’ve probably seen this before, or maybe you’ve been the culprit – some dolt in the driver’s seat texting while steering. It’s an act that’s not only illegal – it’s highly dangerous, too.

Yet it’s a trend that persists despite being outlawed in 2003. According to the Daily Mail, one in four car accidents are caused by cell phone use, while law firm Edgar Snyder & Associates claim that texting while driving increases the likelihood of an accident 23 times.

The take-home fact for all this – don’t use mobile phones while driving. It’s unsafe for you and others.

Know the countryside

Those winding country roads and side streets are where the majority of accidents occur. This is partly because people accelarate on country roads (under the assumption that no speed cameras will be around) and partly because accidents almost jump out at you from around corners.

They’re tricky places to negotiate at the best of times – but don’t let them defeat you. Keep a steady pace on country roads and be extra vigilant when heading around corners.

Image from westcork

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