2017 was the safest year on Ireland’s roads since road deaths were first recorded in 1959 but there is still more we can do – 7 things you can do to make our roads safer for you and all road users writes Geraldine Herbert
- Keep your eyes on the road
Distracted drivers are one of main causes of car accidents so avoid anything that takes your eyes off the road and that includes not only talking on your mobile but texting, emailing, applying make-up or shaving while driving.
- Don’t drive tired
Make sure you get enough sleep or that you are well rested before driving. Take a break: drinking coffee, cola or energy drinks will boost you in the short term but they may make you feel even more fatigued when their effect wears off. Ideally, you should get out of your vehicle to take a brisk walk and some fresh air however, when it comes to effectively combating fatigue, nothing can beat a good sleep.
- Buckle up
Always ensure you and your passengers are wearing seat belts. Over 5,000 motorists in 2017 were given penalty points for failing to buckle up.
- Drive to suit the conditions on the road
Anything that reduces your vision – darkness, rain – should warn you to reduce your speed and the distance between you and the car in front. Slippery wet roads or strong winds can make handling your vehicle more challenging so take extra care and slow down.
- Don’t ever drink and drive.
If you are out for the night always assign a designated driver and remember you could still be over the limit in the morning so if you are in any doubt make alternative transport arrangements after a night out.
- Use your mirrors and signal
Mirrors are among the best tools you have for safe driving, use them to keep track of what traffic is doing behind and around you, especially before you change lanes or pull out to pass. Equally important is the use signals to alert other drivers and road users of your intentions to turn so use them when turning, changing lanes, or pulling off the road.
- Slow Down
Speeding is not the only reason for accidents but it is worth remembering that the faster the speed of a car the greater the risk of an accident so slow down.
1st January, 2018