ROAD SAFETY TIPS: REDUCING YOUR SPEED

 

Safety is something that drivers should keep in mind at all times. After all, when you are operating a motorized vehicle, you have a responsibility to do your part to keep the roadways safe for yourself, other drivers, passengers, and others who may be affected by traffic crashes.

Stay Alert:

Actively pay attention to your actions and those of the drivers around you when you are driving.

Avoid Assumptions:

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that other drivers are going to do or what you think they should do.

Use Turn Signals

While you can’t depend on others always signaling their intentions when driving, you can certainly control whether or not they have realistic expectations for your actions. Always use your turn signals in advance of making a lane change or turning.

Buckle Up:

Wearing your seat belt is an essential safety tip for drivers. You are more likely to get injured in a crash if you aren’t wearing a seat belt.

Follow Traffic Signals

Pay close attention to and obey stop signs and traffic lights.

Respect Yellow Lights:

Remember that the intent of a yellow light is to notify drivers to slow down and prepare to stop. A yellow traffic signal should not be viewed as a sign to step on the gas to rush through an intersection before the light turns red.

Come to a Complete Stop:

When you see a stop sign or a red light, it’s important to bring your vehicle to a complete stop, even if you think no other vehicles are coming.

Many car drivers unintentionally exceed the speed limit, often without realizing it. Drivers are responsible for the speeds at which they choose to drive, but there are some simple and practical things drivers who find it difficult to stay within speed limits can do to help themselves.

Check your speedometer regularly:

Modern cars are so powerful and comfortable they give drivers little sensation of their speed, so many drivers find themselves exceeding the speed limit without realizing it. The only way to be sure of your speed, and to check you have reduced to an appropriate speed is to check the car’s speedometer regularly. You may be able to improve your judgement of it by regularly comparing how fast you think you are driving with what the speedometer says.

Know the limits:

Speed limit signs tend to be placed at junctions because this is often the point at which the limit changes. However, junctions are also where you need to absorb a wide range of different information and it is easy to miss a speed limit sign when concentrating on one or more other things. If you are not sure, assume the limit is lower until you see a sign.

Assume lamp posts mean 30 mph until signs say otherwise

When driving on built-up roads, assume the limit is 30 mph until you see a sign saying otherwise. But, remember the limit could be lower – 20 mph.

Speed limits are a maximum not a target

Speed limits set the maximum speed for that road. However, there are many circumstances when it is not safe to drive at that speed. Examples of situations where drivers should drive at lower speeds than the limits are:

  • Around schools at opening and closing times
  • On busy, narrow roads
  • Where parked vehicles reduce the width of the road
  • In poor weather or reduced visibility

Try no higher than 3rd gear in a 30 mph limit:

It is easier to notice if you are creeping above 30 mph when travelling in 3rd gear, and this can act as a warning to reduce your speed. If you struggle to keep your car within 30 mph when driving in a 30 mph zone, try driving in 3rd gear. If you can comfortably travel at 30 mph in 3rd gear without feeling that the engine is labored, adopt ‘no higher than 3rd in 30 mph’ as a principle.

Recognise what makes you speed –

We all have our ‘speed triggers’ – things that make us more likely to speed up and perhaps exceed the limit unintentionally. This could come in the form of being tempted to overtake a vehicle in front. It may mean exceeding the limit to complete the manoeuvre. Distractions, such as listening to loud music, often result in speeding. Learning to recognise your own ‘speed triggers’ will make it easier to avoid being ‘pushed’ into speeding.

Concentrate – distracted drivers speed

Although it is a familiar everyday task, driving is actually a very complex thing. Trying to do something else (use a mobile phone, light a cigarette, unwrap a sweet) at the same time, is distracting. Distracted drivers find it much more difficult to maintain their awareness of what’s happening on the road around them, and are more likely to speed.

Give yourself time – there’s no need to speed and you won’t get there quicker

Exceeding the speed limit makes little difference to your arrival time. The time it takes to complete a journey is determined much more by your average speed during the whole journey, rather than the maximum speed you achieve for part of it. This is especially true in urban areas, where you constantly have to slow down for junctions, traffic lights and other road users.

Knowing that you have plenty of time to complete your journey will help you to relax and avoid the temptation to push your speed.

Relax yourself before driving:

Being anxious or angry can make you drive more erratically. Maintaining control is key to resisting the urge to speed. Before you start your vehicle, relax by taking some deep breaths. As you drive, try listening to light music such as classical instead of tense-sounding music like hip-hop or hard rock. Focus on the road and let go of negative, emotion-laden thoughts.

Leave earlier so you don’t rush to your destination.

Many people speed because they feel like they’re running late. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you feel pressured to get to work or an appointment on time. Take care of tasks at home, such as preparing breakfast or choosing an outfit, ahead of time. Give yourself plenty of time to get to where you need to go.

Pay close attention to the speedometer:

Occasional glances at the speedometer will keep you in check. Take a quick look down to see how fast you’re going. Adjust your speed accordingly. Remember to keep your glances brief so your eyes stay focused on the road.

Drive a little bit under the speed limit.

Dropping 5 mph (8 km/h) won’t significantly decrease your travel time. Staying aware of the speed limit and choosing to stay below it reduces your chances of accidentally going over it. Even if you notice a big difference at first, you’ll adjust the more you drive at the reduced speed.

Figure out the cost for speeding.

Going faster than 65 mph (105 km/h) burns more fuel and causes more wear and tear to your vehicle. Even if money isn’t an issue, think of the cost in lives. Your speeding is a risk to yourself, your passengers, and everyone else on the road. Remember what will happen if you, for example, hit a child who runs out into the street. Now think of how you’d feel if that was your child.

 

 

Safety tips from: Accra Metropolitan Assembly and the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety

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