10 tips to be a better and safer driver

Written by

Tara Covell

Monday 25th April 2022

Take your time

Don’t be pressured to drive faster than you're comfortable with or to exceed the speed limit simply because a driver behind you is being impatience.

We recommend that you allow for more time than you think you'll need for your journey to avoid having to rush and, as a result, making any silly mistakes due to time constraints.

Get yourself comfortable

Being a better driver requires more than just improving your driving behaviour. There's a lot to think about before you even start the engine.

If you're borrowing a car for a short amount of time, make sure to adjust your seat and mirrors, become familiar with key functions such as the lights and wipers, and be sure to inspect the dashboard for potential issues such as warning lights or low fuel.

Watch out for others

Accident prevention is everyone's responsibility, and it's important to keep an eye out for other road users when leaving your vehicle. According to research by Addison Lee, 65% of cyclists surveyed have been involved in a ‘car dooring’ incident themselves or know someone who has.

Use ‘The Dutch Reach’

'The Dutch Reach' is a practical road safety technique that can help pedestrians and cyclists avoid harm. People usually open the vehicle door with the hand nearest to the door, without looking outside for bikes or pedestrians. Using the Dutch Reach, you reach across your body with your inside hand to open the car door. This causes your body to rotate, providing you better view of bikes and approaching traffic.

Keep it nice and quiet

Don’t be scared to be assertive and ask that your passengers to keep the noise to a minimum if they’re being too loud - remind them that it's distracting. The same applies to listening to loud music or having the radio turned up full volume.

Keep on top of your car maintenance

If you own a car, make sure to perform routine maintenance checks. The condition of your tyres can have a severe impact on your safety on the road, so check the tread depth with a 20p coin every month or so and pump them up to the pressure specified in your owner's manual. Check your fluid levels and lights as well. Don't rely solely on servicing and MOTs to maintain your vehicle road worthiness, especially if you drive a lot.

Get your eyes checked regularly

You must be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away to obtain your licence. A more thorough eye test from an optician, on the other hand, not only maintains your eyesight but also increase your road safety. Every year, it’s estimated that crashes involving a driver with poor vision kill 2,900 people on UK roads.

Consider others and give them space

Staying calm and considerate will help you stay more relaxed and less inclined to make stupid mistakes. Since you never know how others may react, it is always wise to be courteous on the road and give other drivers plenty of space.

Get rid of any distractions

When it comes to driving, there is no such thing as multitasking! Avoid chatting on a mobile phone for prolonged periods of time and if you need to take an important call, it should always be on hands free. Even better, pull over somewhere safe

Avoid fiddling with sat-nav controls while driving. And, if your vehicle has an interactive dashboard, figure out where everything is before you go. The middle of a trip is not the time to figure out how to alter the suspension settings.

Spend less time on the road

Road safety charity Brake is encouraging people to adopt the Brake Pledge to help people get around in ways that are safe, green, healthy and fair. One of these is simply to minimise the amount you drive, or not drive at all.

“I'll get about by walking, cycling or public transport as much as I can, for road safety, the environment and my health”