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How to be a safer driver

Driving like most things becomes a routine and bad habits are easily formed, in fact, a recent survey estimated that new motorists develop bad habits and turn into “bad drivers” in just 10 weeks writes Geraldine Herbert

So here are some simple strategies to help make our roads safer for you and all other road users.

Skills that put you in control – Consider taking an Advanced driving course, these courses cover types of driving that aren’t typically included in standard driving lessons and can improve your confidence on the road and your knowledge of how to drive in challenging environments.

Follow the three-second rule – Driving too close behind the car in front is also known as tailgating which increases your chances of having an accident. By leaving an adequate distance between you and the car in front this means you will have adequate time to break or react if necessary. When the car ahead of you passes a certain point, such as a road sign or a lamp post, count “one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand- three.” This takes approximately three seconds. If you pass the same point before you finish counting, you are following too closely. The rule only works in normal traffic under good weather conditions so in heavy rainfall or fog increase the number of seconds depending on how extreme the weather is.

Slow down – The faster you drive your car, the longer it takes to stop so ensure at all times that your speed matches the conditions of the road. When there’s rain or snow, or if it’s dark, slow down Remember also that speeding not only increases your chances of an accident but it also means you use more fuel and it may lead to fines, penalty points and even disqualification

Cut out distractions – Your chances of an accident more than doubles if your eyes are off the road for more than two seconds, so stay focused when driving. Talking on the phone while driving is not safe, even if you have hands-free as it takes your mind off the road, and that increases your risk of a crash. Also when travelling with children ensure they have everything they may need within arms reach.

 

Geraldine Herbert

6th February 2019

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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