09 Aug Tips for staying safe on British highways
It might not look like it, but the fast roads of Britain are statistically the safest. They only accounted for 3% of accidents and 4% of deaths. Because of the fast speed involved, when something goes wrong, it can have very serious consequences. Here are some tips for staying safe on the highway:
When entering the motorway
Moving from a slip road to a highway, always give other road users a clear signal about your intention to join. Try to adjust your speed to the path you are joining and always find the right gap. It is important not to slow down too much or stop completely because such actions can be dangerous and frustrating for others.
It’s important to be on the left lane in plenty of time and be aware of the 100-yard mark that approaches every exit. Aim to activate your indicator with a 300-yard marker. Try to avoid slowing while still on the highway but reduce the speed on the slip road because this is safer. Often the slip road has more than one lane, so be sure to enter the correct lane for your destination.
Know the lane rules
The left lane is designed for travel in, while the middle and right lanes are used to overtake. You should avoid staying too long in one of these lanes and staying in the middle lane is now a violation.
When driving at night
Highways can get very busy during the day, so some drivers try to travel at night instead. However, while only 15% of driving distance is completed at night, almost one third of all injuries and deaths occur at this time. Drivers get tired and / or bored which can cause a loss of concentration.
The maximum speed on a British highway is 70mph. However, be aware that alternative limits may be displayed, as well as the recommended speed. Signs overhead indicate this, on what is known as a ‘smart highway’. Changes to the speed limit may be the result of road improvements for example. Always be vigilant when passing roadworks being done. You will be warned by the reflective chevrons used on the back of highway maintenance vehicles. For more details on Chevron Kits, visit www.vehiclechevrons.com
Exceeding the speed limit can see you end up with a large fine, at least 150% of your average weekly income, in fact. On the highway, speed cameras are often mounted to overhead gantries, so the chances of being missed are slim!
This lane is designed for the use of access to emergency services only and for broken down vehicles to be safe from traffic lanes. You may not use it unless you have broken down. Sometimes an active traffic management system will display a message that allows the use of hard shoulder and this is often done when the traffic volume is very high.
Other useful tips
Always maintain a safe distance between you and other vehicles. In good conditions, this must be at least 2 seconds, so you have the chance to stop suddenly. When conditions are bad, such as rain or ice, this gap must be doubled.
Plan your route before the trip and find out at the intersection you need to exit.
Make sure your vehicle is in good condition, such as oil filling, fuel and tyre pressure that is sufficient in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.