Driving offers a wonderful way to get out there and experience the world and all that it has to offer.
In fact, the moment that you first pass your driving test is likely to be a pivotal time in your life, offering a new-found sense of freedom and mobility. Despite this, there are some dangers that all drivers should be aware of, particularly young motorists taking to the roads for the first time.
Fatal accidents occur much less frequently on motorways than on rural roads. However, knowing this fact means that many of us tend to overlook the potential dangers of motorway driving. In this guide, we run through just a small handful of the hazards that you may face on the motorway as a young motorist, so that you can better educate and prepare yourself, and stay safe on the road.
Although fatalities on the motorway are less common than on other roads, those that do occur tend to come as a result of a road user driving recklessly or speeding.
The fact is, it can be tempting to drive fast when you get onto the motorway, and although the speed limit on the motorway will be higher than it is on other roads, many people feel tempted to push the limit – particularly where there is an absence of speed cameras.
With road users continuously overtaking and changing lanes on the motorway, driving over the speed limit is incredibly dangerous. In order to ensure that you’re keeping yourself, your passengers and other road users safe, it’s important to stay within the limit and to maintain a good distance between yourself and other drivers.
Using a mobile phone
It’s important to be completely focused on the road and avoid distractions when you’re driving – after all, such distractions could mean the difference between getting being involved in a collision or arriving at your destination safely. Even just checking the map on your phone for a couple of seconds could have dire consequences if it’s not secured in a hands-free phone holder.
Most of us are guilty of wanting to glance over at our phones when we see a text come through, however, it’s important to avoid the urge in order to stay safe. It’s always best to let calls go unanswered when you’re on the road, or to pull over if it’s truly an emergency. Some people find that it helps to place their phone face down while they’re driving, or to put them on silent in order to avoid temptation.
Distraction from passengers
Although there’s only one designated driver in your vehicle, everybody in the car holds some level of responsibility when it comes to having a safe trip. It’s crucial to be mindful of this, as distractions from passengers can pose a significant threat when navigating the motorway.
While it’s nice to be a part of the conversations that are going on in the car, turning your head to speak to your friends in the back seat just isn’t worth it when it comes to staying safe on the road. Some social groups may even encourage their friends to drink and drive, which is incredibly dangerous, as it can slow your reaction time, affect your coordination and impact your concentration – and can ultimately result in loss of life for not only the passengers in the car, but other road users, too. It’s important to always consider your alcohol levels before taking to the road, and to avoid falling victim to peer pressure if you’re over the legal alcohol limit.
Not wearing a seatbelt
As of the most recent UK survey in 2021, 17 to 29-year-olds involved in fatal accidents were found to have been wearing a seatbelt less often than other age groups, ultimately showing that young people are putting themselves at a great risk of serious harm in road traffic collisions.
Drivers tend to feel safer on familiar roads and routes, which can lead them to forgo their seatbelt wearing. The truth is, collisions happen both on unfamiliar roads, and the ones that we frequent every day – and ultimately, however confident you may feel, you can never truly guarantee that you won’t face a hazard on a familiar road. If the worst should ever happen and you find yourself in a road traffic collision, you’re twice as likely to die if you don’t wear a seatbelt, so this lifesaving technology is one that nobody should go without.
Educate yourself on motorway safety
It’s important to educate yourself on the dangers of the road, both on the motorway and off of it. With fatal crashes most prevalent amongst younger age groups, it’s apparent that many new drivers are lacking the safety knowledge that could potentially save their life. As a young person, it’s crucial to keep yourself informed on all potential dangers and hazards, to ensure that you’re always travelling safely.
For more information and access to the New Driver NI magazine see www.newdriverni.com.
If you would like New Driver NI to visit your school for a Safe Motoring presentation please contact Emma Duffy on 078 9995 2808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.