How to drive safely - Running a Car
Driving is probably the most dangerous thing you do. Recognise this fact, and you're one step closer to becoming a safer – and therefore probably more well off – motorist.
• Check your car. Brakes, tyres, windscreen wipers and lights are all critical. See our maintenance tips for more advice.
• Concentrate. There's a lot happening, so stay on the ball. Look well ahead to spot potential dangers and always be ready to react.
• Keep calm. Don't let congestion get to you. Accept that the journey that used to take 20 minutes now takes half an hour, and leave more time.
• Don't tailgate. Slow drivers hogging lanes on motorways are annoying, but intimidating them is not the answer.
• Slow down. Everyone's in a hurry but speeding to your next appointment could mean you don't arrive at all.
• Be aware of weather conditions and that they can change quickly. Just because the roads weren't icy where you started off doesn't mean they aren't covered a mile away.
• Never use a handheld phone. Even if you've got a hands-free system in your car, it's best to limit conversations as they'll distract you.
• Don’t drive tired. If you're flagging, you have to stop. Take a 20-minute nap and drink some caffeine. Opening windows and turning up the stereo don't work.
• Don't drink and drive. Your ability at the wheel is seriously impaired even by one drink.
• Always carefully read the label of any medicines you are taking. You should not operate machinery if taking certain medicines – this, of course, includes driving a car.
• Emergency braking. Most cars have anti-lock brakes. Press the pedal as hard as you can and remember that you'll still be able to steer. If you don't have ABS, pump the pedal and brake in a straight line.
• If your brakes fail, try to stay calm. Pump the brake pedal, gradually apply the handbrake and use the gears to slow your car down.
• If you start to skid steer in the direction that you're skidding in to counteract the movement.