2 September 2016

Dangerous lanes and Our top 5 Car Safety tips

Car safety just happens to be one of my biggest worries, I am a rather nervous person when on the road although you probably wouldn't realise it. I can often be found gripping the side of the seat or sitting on my hands! After having a few driving lessons in my teens it became clear that I had no confidence as a driver, I was petrified of vehicles coming towards me knowing I was the one in control of the car. Now having the three Little Ones strapped in across the back seat behind us I know that I would not feel safe driving them in the car, so all the driving in this house is down to Daddy.

It turns out that according to a survey by Chill Insurance that I am not alone and 68% of Irish drivers worry about their safety on the roads.

The same survey also found that 34% of those questioned had been in a Road Traffic Accident on the past 5 years. I find that quite worrying, I did not expect this figure to be that high.

The one thing that Daddy and I both dislike is driving through the country lanes around us here in the Cotswolds, over the past few years we have had a few near misses with drivers going far too fast or taking the corner too wide and having to pull in sharply to avoid us and there is one particular incident I will always remember.

We were driving uphill on a local lane we used regularly as a short cut, we pulled into a hedge as we could see a car coming down the hill towards us however the driver was not looking ahead at the road she was looking down and leaning over the passenger side. She was going to hit us, there was nowhere we could go. Daddy hit the car horn and she looked up a few moments before she would have hit us and grabbed the wheel swerving around us into the passing layby. I will never forget the look of panic and fear on that lady's face as my heart pounded in my chest because the girls were in the back of the car.

We have come up with our top 5 Car Safety tips to help keep you safe on the road.

Check your car regularly
It will come as no surprise to most people that keeping your car roadworthy will help prevent an accident and protect you and your family. Check your tyres, that they are pumped up sufficiently and the depth of the tread too. Things like topping up the water in the radiator and oil and checking your lights are working as well as listening to your car for unusual sounds. Get into the habit of doing these things regularly like once every 6 weeks rather than just at the annual service. 

Don't be tempted by your mobile phone
Having your mobile phone to hand and even on hands free can really be a distraction when you are driving. With notifications popping up and a text message waiting it can be tempting to take a peep at a junction or while waiting for lights. However just by taking your eye off the road for a moment can be enough to miss something, the child that stepped out or the bike that has come up along side you. Leave your phone in your bag or glove box while driving so you are not tempted to look.

Be wary of your Sat Nav
We all have some form of satellite navigation these days on a phone or dash mounted device. These things generally choose the quickest route and may try to send you down roads you are not meant to go. Keep an eye out for the road signs and don't blindly follow the instructions, the road may be narrow or unsuitable, there may be low bridges etc. Our sat nav has tried to send us down unsuitable roads several times but we have spotted it before we made the mistake. Keep a good old map in the front of the car, you never know when you might need it.

Make sure you have the right cover
Be prepared, make sure you have the right car insurance and if you want it, breakdown cover. Check your cover is what you need. If something should go wrong, it can pay to be prepared, keep a bottle of water in the car, a torch, blanket, have your phone on you and some emergency numbers written down in the glove box just in case.

Ensure Children are correctly protected
Your childs car seat can be the difference between life and death. It is really important to make sure they are in the correct seat, that they are the right weight and height as well as the seat being suitable for your car. It is also essential that it is fitted correctly otherwise it can not do its job. With the new law coming into place regarding high backed booster seats, now is the time to double check your child seat arrangements. Weigh and measure your growing children too when they are approaching their seat limits, both Little 2 and 3 have outgrown their car seats over the summer.

N.B This was a collaborative post.

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