Teaching drivers how to drive safely from the basics – such as wearing seatbelts to keeping their concentration, not using mobile devices and being aware of the other distractions that could cause you to not be paying full care and attention to the road ahead – is imperative.
Here are our tops tips for making you a safer – and so much better – driver.
1. Wear a properly adjusted and working seatbelt:
There are still drivers – mainly the old hands – who think they don’t need to, or it’s not worth, wearing a seatbelt.
Not only do you stand to get a hefty ﬁne and points on your licence, but it’s there for your safety. Seatbelts are the most effective safety device, saving thousands of lives annually.
You are exempt from wearing a seatbelt if the vehicle was not ﬁtted with one when built – often a case with trucks older than 25 years or if you are driving a goods vehicle, on deliveries, that is travelling no more than 50 metres between stops.
You may also be exempted from wearing a seat belt on medical grounds. In such circumstances your doctor may issue a Certiﬁcate of Exemption from Compulsory Seat Belt Wearing if they decide that it is not suitable for you to wear a seat belt on medical grounds.
This certiﬁcate must be produced if the police ask you for it.
As a driver you may get a ﬁne of £500 and three penalty points for not wearing your seat belt. If you are carrying a child under 14 without the proper restraint you are liable for a ﬁne of £500 and three penalty points.
For passengers 14 years old and over,it is their own responsibility to ensure that they wear a seat belt if there is one available. As a passenger you may get a ﬁne of £500 for not wearing a seat belt and can be awarded two penalty points.
2. Three Points of Contact
Remember to employ three points of contact rule at all times when entering or exiting the tractor, trailer, or climbing onto or down from the catwalk.
This means always having both hands and one foot or both feet and one hand in contact with your equipment. This will help prevent slips, trips and falls!
3. Seven Second Rule:
Consider seven seconds to be the minimum safe following distance under ideal conditions. Remember to leave extra space if conditions are less than ideal.
4. Cruise Control:
Do not use cruise control in less than ideal conditions. Using cruise control can be dangerous on wet or icy roads, as well as in areas where many speed corrections need to be made, such as on winding or hilly roads, in heavy trafﬁc, and in urban areas.
5. Avoid Distractions:
Keep both hands on the steering wheel in the nine and the o’clock positions. This allows the maximum steering wheel movement in either direction without having to reposition your hands, giving you the most leverage and control of your vehicle.
6. Slow down passing schools or worksites
A good driver will slow down when approaching and passing school andconstruction zones and will also be prepared to stop. Obey all signs and workers who are directing trafﬁc.
7. Keep your lights on
It is advisable to keep your headlights or running lights on at all times when driving. Ensure you keep your lights clean as being visible is extremely important to your safety.
Driving with lights on will allow a fellow motorist to see you sooner and allow others more time to adjust to any potential hazards.
8. Safe Loading and Unloading
Ensure your vehicle and freight are properly secured when loading or unloading. Apply tractor and trailer parking brakes and turn off your engine. If available, use chock blocks for extra security. Do not pull out
of a loading dock until the dock plate has been removed and you have veriﬁed that the loading/unloading has been completed and that no equipment or people are still working in the trailer.
9. Observe speed limits
To ensure your personal safety and the safety of those around you, travel at or lower than speeds of 56mph or the speed limit of the road. Always adjust your speed to a safe level as determined by the driving conditions.
10. Wear sunglasses when necessary
Blinding glare caused by low sun, sunlight reﬂecting off snow, other vehicles and/or buildings can be potentially lethal.
This can be reduced by wearing sunglasses with polarized lenses that ﬁlter glare. Choose sunglasses that have curved lenses to protect in front and to the sides, and thin frames to free up peripheral vision.
Always remove sunglasses when entering tunnels.