For Most driving is a big part of day to day life,  giving you a sense of independence and freedom. In Vehicle licensing statistics published by Gov.UK, at the end of March 2017, there were 37.5 million vehicles registered for use on the road in Great Britain.

Although everybody would have legally passed their driving test, all drivers will have different abilities and capabilities which for the majority can come down to confidence. It is important to maintain awareness on the road to remain safe to not only you and your passengers, but all drivers on the roads.

Causes of Car Accidents

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When thinking of car accidents it is most common to think a driver would be at fault by either speeding, the use of a mobile phone or drinking over the legal limit alcohol however this is not always the case. A study carried out by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) accumulated data recorded by police after thousands of Road Traffic Collisions (RTC’s) that have taken place throughout the UK.

Driver error was highest cause of accidents. Broken down into specific categories, with drivers failing to look properly being at the forefront of this. Drivers losing control was highlighted as second highest and predominantly caused by driving too fast while traveling through hazards such as bends in the road. Also contribute to this category were misjudged manoeuvres and the failure in judging other drivers speed.

Injudicious actions featured as the next main cause, resulting in poor judgement by drivers. This category involved incidents such as failing to read or take actions by road signs, driving over the speed limit and not driving to the conditions on the road such as adverse weather.

Inexperience and behavior came in at third on the list. This resulted in drivers offending by careless and reckless driving whether being in an aggressive manner or as simple as driving too fast because the driver needed to be somewhere quickly. A main occurrence in this category was the inclusion of new drivers where inexperience may have led them to panic or misjudge a situation.

Impairment or distraction were the cause of the final main category. Driving whilst over the legal limit or under the influence of drugs and being distracted by most commonly using a mobile phone or by talking, trying to eat and drink at the wheel.

There are many other things which contribute to road accidents, ranging from being blinded by the sun to faulty vehicles.

How to Take Care When Driving

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It can be easy to become distracted while driving a car which is why you must make every effort to prevent this with actions you can control. Even though using a mobile phone whilst driving is illegal, it is still a high cause of accidents. Using your phone hands free in the car is currently legal but can still take away your full attention to the road. In the event you need to use/answer your phone it is always best to pull over safely, turning off your engine. Music can also provide distractions with changing stations/tracks and adjusting volume – these settings can be made before leaving off on your journey with volume being kept a suitable level and the use of earphone is never permitted as can inhibit the sounds of warning and the emergency services.

Road signs are always there for a reason and for your safety. It is important these are obeyed as could come with a warning for an obstruction or directions for traffic. Always take care at a junction looking in all directions of traffic and having that second look before pulling out. Pay particular attention for cyclist and motorbikes whilst driving checking in mirrors and knowing the blind spots in your car you need to check for. Whilst taking into account instructions from traffic lights it is always important to remain vigilant as it doesn’t always mean the route will be clear and take care whilst changing lanes making sure to indicate where appropriate and give time to  make sure other vehicles are making room to give way.

Care should always be given to following the speed limit for each road and consideration for this should be taken in poor conditions. Even if you feel you are a confident driver, if an accident were to take place driving at speed a collision can cause more serious harm and even fatalities. A speed limit has been given per road depending the area and how it is used for example a road with a school which will have children walking and biking to school will have a limit of 20mph while a long stretch of road without residents may be 40mph.  Rural roads can have speeds limits as high as the national speed limit of 60mph but care should still be given as these roads tend to be thinner and lots of bends.

Do not retaliate to drivers when they are becoming aggressive to avoid accidents. Any retaliation can make a situation worse, it is safer to be aware of them and concentrate on your own safe driving.

It is your job to make sure your car is safe and roadworthy. Keep up to date with your MOT and road tax as well as more regular checks you can make yourself at home such as tyre air pressure, tread depths and levels of oil and water. Make sure you keep windows and mirrors clean and check all lights have functioning bulbs If you notice any problems go with your instincts and have these checked.

Do not drink and drive! With more awareness on this topic with online calculators to help you work out when it is safe to drive as well as campaigns throughout the year with messages to have a designated driver it has become socially unacceptable.

What to Do in the Event of an Accident

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Every time you get into a car as driver or passenger there is always the possibility of an accident. Even driving safely, you can still be in an accident from the fault of another driver. Being involved in an accident can be daunting especially if it is your first nut it is always important to stay calm.

Police should always be called in the event of a car accident even if no injuries appear to be sustained. They can provide help and make sure the scene is safe for you and other drivers. Having a police report from the incident can help if a claim is made at a later date. It is important when you are able to obtain as much information from the accident as possible including name, address and contact details of the other parties involved and any witnesses. If any photos can be taken these will always valuable in the event of a claim. Vehicle details such as registration, make  and model and if possible insurance company should be taken.

If you have been involved in an accident where it was not your fault it may be possible to make a claim against the other driver. If you are unsure how to claim compensation for a car accident, speak to a personal injury lawyer who can advise you on what routes you can take and what you will need to keep a record of after the event, such as any doctors appointments. A successful car accident claim will lead to compensation for any injuries suffered, rehabilitation and medical costs as well as any earning lost of incurred from the accident.

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