Avoid accidents on the motorway with these essential road safety tips:
Essential Road Safety Tips for Motorway Driving
Motorway driving can be daunting for new drivers. But with driver error being responsible for 90% of motorway accidents, staying safe on a motorway is largely down to the way you drive.
Last year, road deaths rose by 3% on 2014, and around 5% of fatalities and serious injuries happened on a motorway. Although the numbers may seem small, this equals to 3 or 4 people being killed or seriously injured on a UK motorway every day.
Follow these essential road safety tips for better motorway driving:
Joining the motorway
Although in most cases, slowing down before a junction is the safe option, when it comes to approaching a motorway on the slip road, you should accelerate to match the speed of the vehicles in the first lane, so as not to interfere with the flow of traffic. Follow the usual “mirror, signal, manoeuvre” system, maintaining your speed throughout. Remember, however, that you need to give way at the end of the acceleration lane to join the motorway; the cars already in the left-hand lane have the right of way.
Stick to the speed limit
Driving over 70mph on the motorway increases the risk of an accident; in fact, a study carried out by the University of California found that it is 31% more likely to have a crash driving at 80mph when other traffic is driving at 70. Make sure to keep checking your speed, and be aware that in some stretches of road the speed limit might be lower than 70mph. Think you can get away with speeding on the motorway? Despite what you may have heard, those average speed cameras are fully functional and will catch you if you are speeding.
Reduce speed for bad weather
If you notice bad weather such as rain or strong winds, allow more time for your journey and take it steady on the motorway. Remember that for wet weather, stopping distances are at least double the usual requirement, so keep your distance and turn on your headlights if it’s raining heavily.
Indicate your intention to exit
When it’s time to exit the motorway, signal left as soon as you see the three line countdown marker sign. If you leave it any later to indicate, your exit will not be anticipated by the driver behind you and they will need to brake, disrupting the flow of traffic.
Overtaking & changing lanes
Whether it’s joining the motorway or changing lanes to overtake, pulling into a lane requires a good awareness of the car behind you. You have probably experienced the frustrating moment when a driver pulls in front too closely, pebbling your car with stones. Allow plenty of room, remember to indicate and maintain your speed once you have pulled in.
On the subject of changing lanes, what about motorcyclists “filtering” through traffic? Filtering is entirely legal for motorcyclists, as long as due care and attention are taken. As a car driver, it is important to be aware of this and leave room for bikes in traffic.
Avoid “middle lane hogging”
Driving in the middle lane or the outer lane without the intention to overtake can be dangerous as it prevents other cars from overtaking. To stay safe and avoid a fine, stay in the left-hand lane unless you need to overtake slower moving traffic.
Maintain a steady speed
Braking suddenly is very dangerous on the motorway, so keep scanning the road ahead to prepare for oncoming hazards. If you see a reason to reduce your speed, such as a queue of traffic or an obstruction, switch on your hazard lights briefly to warn approaching vehicles of the hazard.
Don’t be tempted to brake if someone is tailgating you. Let the tailgater pass if they want to, and maintain a constant speed. If you are in the correct lane, travelling at a sensible speed, it is the tailgater’s responsibility to overtake.
If you breakdown
While we all try to keep our cars in good working order, we cannot predict a breakdown or a blowout. If you do break down on the motorway, it’s important to move to the hard shoulder and exit the car via the passenger door to avoid oncoming traffic. Do not sit in your car whilst waiting for assistance – get as far away from the past moving traffic as possible.
Install a dashboard camera
If you are looking to improve the way you drive on the motorway, footage from a dashboard camera could help you identify the areas in which you might need to develop. They can also keep track of other vehicles on the motorway; for example, if you see someone driving illegally on the hard shoulder, this should be reported so that the offending driver can be caught.
For more information about safer driving with a dash cam, feel free to get in touch with us here at Police Witness.