Thousands of people are injured in road traffic accidents each year. According to government figures, car occupants continue to account for the largest proportion of casualties on the road. 

What can you do to avoid a car accident?

No matter how confident you are at driving, you can never be too careful. While you can't control other drivers' behaviour, you can make sure that you are doing all that you can to avoid a road traffic accident. Our road traffic specialists have put together a guide for safe driving as part of our #StayRoadSafe campaign. Follow our five tips for drivers' safety below.

Check your car

Ensure your vehicle is correctly and regularly maintained. Having a service check each season and before long journeys will help ensure your car is ready for the journey ahead. It’s especially important to check your car’s maintenance in colder temperatures – it will need more power to start, run heaters, and to operate de-misters and other electronic parts. If any of the below warnings appear on the dashboard, you should stop and seek help from your breakdown provider or a trusted local garage as soon as possible:

  • Engine
  • Braking system
  • Power steering failure
  • Airbag
  • Oil pressure
  • Cooling system

Check your tyres

Check the air in your tyres is at the correct pressure, especially before long journeys. Low tyre pressure can lead to blowouts, causing them to wear down and overheat, and increase your risk of a car accident. The correct level for your tyres can be found in your vehicle’s handbook.
You should also ensure your tyres’ tread depth are above the legal limit - the minimum tyre tread depth for the UK and Europe is 1.6 mm across the entire tyre. Failure to maintain your tyres can cause them to lose their grip, which can result in a car accident. You can also be fined £2,500 per tyre if you fail to check your tyres’ maintenance and it could cost you three points on your licence.

Look out for potholes

A third of all vehicle damage is caused by potholes, according to the RAC. Potholes can seriously damage your tyres and wheel balancing, which can lead to a car accident. To limit the risk of damage to your car and personal injury, avoid driving over them. If you’re unable to drive around a pothole, reduce your speed and drive over them carefully.

The ‘two second rule’

Keeping your distance from the car in front is crucial. Should the car in front stop suddenly, you need to be a decent distance away to be able to stop without hitting them. This is sometimes described as the ‘two second rule’, which is the same distance as one car length per five miles per hour. This is the minimum distance for an alert driver in a regularly maintained vehicle in dry weather conditions. This distance can significantly reduce road accidents or limit any damage to your vehicle should an accident happen.

Be vigilant

As a driver, you are not only responsible for the safety of yourself and any passengers in the car, but for other road users too. Drivers in a road traffic accident with a cyclist or a pedestrian often say that they didn’t see them. It is often argued pedestrians and cyclists who are not wearing bright clothes contribute to the negligence, but ultimately it is the driver’s responsibility to be vigilant and alert to notice such road users in advance and take necessary precautions to avoid an accident.

Road safety tips

For more information about road safety, visit our #StayRoadSafe campaign hub using the link below. Alternatively, if you have been involved in a road traffic accident and would like more information about how our solicitors can support you, visit our road traffic accident claims page.