It’s Road Safety Week!
People may already be incessantly piping on about Christmas but there’s an even more important event taking place beforehand, and that’s Road Safety Week.
Road Safety Week (RSW), an established week in the UK calendar, is designed to ensure both drivers and pedestrians stay as safe as possible.
Set up by Brake in 1997, the week has been organised by the charity ever since. This year it runs from the 18th to the 24th, just as the dark nights have started to draw in.
We are offering advice to motorists on how to stay safe on the roads – not just during Road Safety Week, but all year round.
In 2011, 3,267 people were killed or seriously injured in crashed where speed was a factor. You need to be aware of the speed limit of the area you’re driving in but remember that the limit is the absolute maximum, not a number to aim for. It also doesn’t mean that it’s safe to drive at or near the speed limit in all conditions, such as when it’s raining, icy or snowy.
Don’t drive while intoxicated through drink or drugs
There were 230 deaths in 2011 as a result of drink driving, a total that amounts to 12% of all road casualties. The way alcohol affects you depends on a number of factors including body weight, stress, metabolism etc. so it’s safer to simply not drink and drive at all.
Driving when under the influence of drugs is also incredibly dangerous to the driver, passengers and pedestrians. Reaction times can be reduced whilst fatigue will kick in once the drug starts to wear off. Remember it’s not just illegal drugs that have an effect on the human body. Prescription medication can also affect your driving ability, so always check with your GP whether it is safe to continue driving when you are taking prescribed drugs.
Get Strapped In
Seatbelts offer protection should you crash, so it’s vital you strap up as soon as you get in the car. Not wearing a seatbelt can be fatal, even at low speeds. Always check that your passengers are belted up too, and that young children or infants have the correct child safety seats and that they are strapped in correctly.
Don’t be distracted by mobile phones and other devices
You can become easily distracted when using your mobile phone, whether it is to text someone or if you’re having a conversation with them. Your concentration and focus need to be firmly on the road. With reaction times for drivers using a mobile phone 50% slower than normal drivers, it’s not surprising that you’re four more times likely to crash if using a phone. It is illegal to use a hand held mobile phone while driving, and the general advice is not to use a phone at all in the car because if the police think you’re distracted and not in control of your vehicle you could still get stopped and penalised even if it is hands-free.
Get plenty of sleep
Twenty per cent of accidents on trunk roads and motorways are sleep-related so before you set off on a long journey make sure you get plenty of rest. If you feel yourself starting to become tired then pull over into a safe location and take a quick nap, or get out of the car for a while and take some fresh air to help wake you up. Drinking a cup of coffee will also help you to be more alert.
How I can make sure my vehicle is safe?
Whilst you can carry out a number of checks yourself, including the oil and battery levels, the importance of getting your vehicle serviced cannot be stressed enough.
When your vehicle is being driven there are thousands of parts being used, being exposed to heat and wear and tear.
A simple service at a local Trust My Garage (TMG) member can make sure your vehicle is fit for driving.
What can your company do to help?
There’s so much more your company can do to promote the message of road safety.
Put posters up in reception areas and on noticeboards to get the message across to employees, parents, customers or passers-by.
Fun-filled fundraising! Hold a coffee morning, collection or bake sale to raise vital funds for Brake. You can also host a road safety quiz in your workplace based on the Highway Code, asking for donations from participants in aid of Brake in the process.
Follow Brake on Facebook or Twitter for regular updates. The twitter hashtag is #RSW13. You can also promote RSW on your website, social media and newsletter.
Promote text giving at your event or through your communications. People can donate to Brake by texting ROAD13 and the amount (e.g. ‘ROAD13 £5’) to 70070.
If you’re running an event or fundraiser then invite local media. It’s a really effective way to promote the cause and spread life-saving messages.
For even more information head to http://www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk
Where is my local Trust My Garage member?
To locate your nearest Trust My Garage member and take advantage of quality service at an affordable price, simply log on to http://www.trustmygarage.co.uk and type in your postcode to see a list of Trust My Garage members in your local area. Members of Trust My Garage are true professionals – local independent businesses which are part of the community. Trust My Garage is the truly independent scheme for independent garages.