Did you make any New Year Resolutions this year? Did any of them involve your motoring?
Richard Gladman at the Institute of Advanced Motorists has come up with a few ideas that aren’t difficult to keep and will improve your driving. More importantly, they will also go a long way to keeping you safe on the road.
“The New Year is a common time for people to reflect on and evaluate their goals,” says Richard, IAM Roadsmart’s Head of Driving & Riding Standards. “Why not begin by incorporating your driving behaviour into your list of resolutions for 2018? Why not resolve to make it better this year?”
First of all, if you are thinking of changing your car this year, resolve to do your research before you buy. In particular find out about the CO2 emissions of the cars on your shortlist, and how much Vehicle Excise Duty you will pay. Find out what safety features are fitted as standard and what you will have to pay extra for. Brand new models often have the very latest equipment, such as Autonomous Energy Braking, which can drastically reduce the chance of you having a serious accident.
Also resolve to spend a few minutes every week checking your lights, tyre pressure and tread depth, fluid levels and windscreen wipers. Other simple car maintenance tasks that should be done regularly include checking your windows, mirrors and number plates. Nip any problems in the bud before they become a safety hazard.
Put observing, anticipating and planning at the heart of your driving. Make a commitment to being more aware of what other road users and pedestrians are doing, at traffic lights, roundabouts and junctions in particular.
Commit to more economical driving as well. It’s surprising how much fuel you can save by planning your journeys in advance and using the power and gears of your vehicle effectively.
Don’t set off on a long journey without checking for weather warnings first, and in really bad weather make a good decision and either reschedule your journey or use a different type of transport.
Trying to find a petrol station in an unfamiliar area can be extremely stressful if you’re running low on fuel. Promise yourself to refuel early when you’re on a long journey, and make sure you’re not one of the hundreds of motorists whose cars break down every year because they’ve run out of fuel on a motorway.
Finally, when was the last time you had an eye test? If it was more than two years ago, follow the NHS’ recommendation and book one soon. In the meantime, check to see if you can read a number plate clearly from 20 metres away. If you can’t, you shouldn’t be driving!
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