The rules of the road are there to keep everybody safe and you ignore them at your peril. While you should always drive to the best of your ability, there are several rules which, if broken, are likely to have the worst of consequences.
Always be aware of the maximum speed of the road, as displayed on road signs, and don’t exceed this. However, remember that this is a maximum speed, not a speed you must maintain at all costs, regardless of other traffic. In certain circumstances, such as rainy, foggy or slippery conditions, you should travel at a much slower speed as your ability to see and to brake are likely to be impaired. Be vigilant whenever you drive and be aware that speed limits can change, whether temporarily or permanently.
Alcohol can cause your reactions to become much slower and your coordination to be less efficient, which is why there is a restriction set in law. However, different people are affected to a greater or lesser degree by it, so the most sensible course of action is to avoid drinking entirely when you will be driving. You may still be under the influence of alcohol several hours after drinking, or even the following day. As a rule of thumb, it takes approximately one hour for a unit of alcohol to leave your system.
Anything that distracts you while you drive can cause you to have an accident, but the most common distraction for drivers is the mobile phone. With hands-free technology available, there are ways to conduct a conversation more safely, yet drivers continue to take the risk of controlling their car one-handed. Texting has been shown to cause even more accidents than making phone calls, since it involves looking away from the road. If you want to use your phone, pull over to a safe place, turn off your engine and make your call.
The introduction of seat belts as a safety feature in cars has significantly improved a person’s chances of surviving a collision. Without seat belts, at a moderate speed, the driver would be at serious risk of potentially fatal chest or head injuries, while the front passenger would be at an equal risk of head or facial injuries. Most drivers now wear their seatbelts, yet they allow rear passengers to travel without being fastened in. During a collision, an unrestrained rear passenger can be thrown forward, risking not only his or her own life, but threatening the safety of whoever is in front of them, as they may collide with that person.
Keep a safe distance from the car in front of you to avoid a collision if they have to make an emergency stop. Part of the information you learn before your test is about safe stopping-distances, which depend largely upon the speed of the car. However, many drivers adhere to the two-second rule, which states that it should be at least two seconds from when the car in front passes an object to when you pass it. Large items, such as trees or streetlights are the best landmarks to use for this.
By always following the rules of the road, you are ensuring that you and your passengers are as safe as possible. However, avoiding an accident will also reduce the likelihood of you having to pay more for your young drivers insurance when it comes to renewing your policy. So, it seems that careful driving is the most economic practice as well as the safest.