This week is Road Safety Week, an initiative spelling out all of the risks that drivers face every time they get behind the wheel.
UK roads are dangerous places, with five people killed every single day.
West Midlands law firm Higgs & Sons is supporting #roadsafetyweek, and here motoring expert Catherine Junor reinforces the timely advice offered by the campaign.
“Hundreds of deaths and serious injuries take place on our roads every week, but by changing our driving behaviour, we can help make our towns and villages safer places to be.
“Road Safety Week is co-ordinated by road safety charity Brake, and this year the campaign focuses on six elements: Slow, Sober, Secure, Silent, Sharp and Sustainable.
“Every action taken, as a driver or a passenger, can change the outcome of a journey and the future of a family.”
• Slow: Breaking the speed limit or travelling too fast for the conditions is recorded by police at crash scenes as a contributory factor in more than one in four (27%) fatal crashes in Great Britain
• Sober: Having even one drink before getting behind the wheel can affect your ability to drive. In 2013 one in 10 (11%) drivers/motorcycle riders killed in a crash had alcohol present in their body, even though they weren’t over the legal blood-alcohol limit. One in seven road deaths are at the hands of someone who has driven while over the limit
• Secure: Seat belts are still seen as an inconvenience by some drivers, yet using one reduces the chance of dying in a crash by 50%. 21% of car occupants killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt.
• Silent: Drivers who perform a complex secondary task, like using a mobile, while at the wheel are three times more likely to crash than non-distracted drivers
• Sharp: Booking in for a regular eye test should be at the top of any driver’s to-do list. Road crashes caused by poor driver vision are estimated to cause 2,900 casualties and cost £33 million in the UK per year
• Sustainable: By minimising the amount we drive, and walking, cycling or using public transport instead, we are making our communities safer places, and doing the best we can for the environment and our individual health. Air pollution is a major killer: there are an estimated 29,000 deaths per year from particulate matter pollution in the UK, 5,000 of which are attributable to road transport
Catherine added: “With the shorter days, winter weather and approaching festive season, road safety becomes particularly important and we support the Brake Pledge which is committed to saving lives and keeping our roads safe.”