Safety on the motorway

Although motorways are often safer than other roads, accidents can and do happen.

Often, drivers think that such accidents on the motorways occur due to the higher speeds and heavier traffic, but that is not always the case. Most accidents are caused by the way people drive and many of them can be avoided simply by being prepared and aware. Before getting on the motorway, preparation is essential. Any driver must plan his or her route and check the vehicle before starting out. Consider the following motorway safety tips:

Before driving

Before even getting into the car, check the motor vehicle for any potential problems that might impair safety on the motorway. Look at the brakes, lights, engines, water and oil levels, and check the fuel. Have you planned the route? It is always a good idea to have an alternative route in mind should there be any roadblocks or heavy traffic.

Lane discipline

On multi-lane motorways, slower vehicles should always remain in the far left lane. This is also where vehicles will be merging on and off the motorway in most cases. Typically, it is safer to remain in the middle or outer lane when overtaking slower vehicles.

Stopping distances matter

It is never a good idea to travel too closely to the vehicle in front of you. In fact, following another car too closely causes many accidents, simply because there is no time to come to a complete stop before crashing. For vehicles travelling at 20 miles per hour (mph), a stopping distance of three car lengths or more should be kept. For those travelling at 70mph, you should leave a safe braking distance of twenty-four car lengths.

Check your speed

On most motorways, the speed limit is 70mph for cars, vans and motorbikes.

Larger buses and coaches, vehicles towing a caravan, and articulated lorries must adhere to the 60mph speed limit. Speeding beyond the limit will not just result in a fine or penalties added to your licence, but may contribute to an accident. It is also unsafe to drive too slowly on the motorway.

Emergencies

Even when drivers are prepared for their journey, emergencies can still happen. If the car breaks down, it is crucial to turn on the hazard warning lights, even during the day, and move the car to the hard shoulder of the motorway. For drivers without mobile phones, there are emergency phones every mile or so. Never wait inside your car for emergency help. Stay as far away from the traffic as possible.

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