Dangerous Driving Conditions

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Dangerous Driving Conditions

Post by Admin on Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:51 pm

Dangerous Driving Conditions :-

Wet Roads

It is well documented that driving in the rain can be significantly more hazardous than driving in the dry. The problem is that as we all recognise, accidents result in costly car insurance claims that can lead to a significant increase in the following year's car insurance premium. So what are the hazards when driving in the rain and what methods can we employ to help us avoid these hazards?
Visibility - when driving in the rain a driver's visibility is greatly reduced. This is due to the overcast conditions, spray on the roads and the rain in general. Reduced visibility can increase a motorist's chance of accident. There are many ways to help you increase your visibility on a rainy day on the UK's roads:

Wipers - by setting your windscreen wipers to the correct speed you can ensure that you will be able to get the maximum visibility possible for the conditions. This can greatly increase your reaction times.

Headlights - When there is rain there are clouds, this can cause a reduction in light and therefore visibility of the driver. By putting on your headlights during a rain storm you can increase your visibility of the road ahead. By turning on your headlights you can also make other motorists aware of your road position and help reduce your risk of accident.</BLOCKQUOTE>
Control - During wet and rainy conditions your control of your vehicle can be effected dramatically. The road becomes very slippery and greatly reduces the grip of your tyres to the road, with this in mind you should try and avoid sudden sharp breaking. Obviously you can't control having to break in an emergency situation but by increasing the room that you give to other motorists you increase your reaction time and can help reduce excessive breaking. Water on the road can also reduce your control of the vehicle by the process of aquaplaning. Aquaplaning occurs at high speeds where a layer of water is trapped between the tyre and the road surface leaving the driver with no control over their braking or speed. By reducing your speed in the wet you can significantly reduce your risk of aquaplaning.

Standing water - The final problem to look at is that of standing water on the roads during heavy rain storms. Not only does this water pose a threat through aquaplaning but passing through deep standing water poses the threat of breakdown to the motorist. When encountering deep standing water evaluate the depth to see if you will be able to pass. If the depth is low enough pass through the water in first gear at a low steady speed with enough revs to prevent stalling and breakdown. If you can avoid passing through deep standing water do so.
In closing, if we all took a little more time in the wet and gave other motorists a lot more room increased stopping distances associated with the wet wouldn't be so much of an issue. By slowing down and being more observant we all benefit.

Last edited by Admin on Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:38 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Country Roads

Post by Admin on Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:58 pm

We will look at a few tips for driving on the country roads. To try to make our roads a little safer for everyone.
The problem is that a lot of the UK community live in relatively built up areas so what could be better on a hot day than getting in the car and escape from it all to the countryside?
What a lot of motorists don't realise is that the country roads are not a place to escape too and give you the freedom to put your foot down away from the hustle and bustle of town life. In fact the country roads can be a dangerous place and can hold just as many hazards as their city road opposite.

Blind corners - Most country roads are very twisty as they meander around the lush green fields that make up the great British countryside. Combined with twists in the roads is a narrowness of lane that will be unfamiliar to a motorist visiting from a town environment. Unfortunately blind corners go hand in hand with the twisty aspect of these minor roads and have the potential to be frequent accident hot spots. When approaching a blind bend be sure to reduce your speed and keep as far to your side of the road as possible, this will help reduce the risk of collision when meeting a car coming the other way and will maximise your visibility of the bend.

Hedges - Country roads are typically edged with hedgerows that can cause a problem to motorists travelling them. These hedgerows can significantly reduce a divers visibility, especially if they are overgrown. Hedgerows can also conceal things like protruding tree stumps and in conjunction with narrow lanes and the need to pull over to allow traffic to pass just be aware of where you are pulling over.

Slippery roads - With the amount of rural traffic on the road moving on and off farm land there is often a lot of mud and other debris on the road that can effect a cars grip. With this in mind a driver should be aware of the sate of the road they are travelling on in relation to stopping distances. This rural debris can make the roads very slippery especially after showers and you should adjust your speed and distance from other traffic.

Vulnerable road users - You should be aware that you are not he only person that will escape to the country on a hot summers day. Along with the other motorists that have exchanged the town for country you will encountered a large amount of vulnerable road users during your day out. Cyclists and horses are very common on country roads so be aware of them around the next blind bend, give them plenty of room and only pass them when safe to do so.

Slow vehicles - The last major thing to look out for when travelling on a country road are slow moving vehicles. These can come in many different forms from caravans to farm vehicles. These machines often take up a lot of the narrow lanes on the country roads and should be given plenty of room. Be aware of slow traffic around the next bend and only overtake when safe to do so leaving plenty of room. By giving them more room you can avoid damage to your cars bodywork and windscreen. Remember keep a safe distance away from the vehicle plan well ahead.

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Night Driving

Post by Admin on Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:04 pm

Night driving

When to use headlights

You must turn on your vehicle's headlights:

  • from 30 minutes after sunset, until 30 minutes before sunrise
  • at any other time when you can't clearly see a person or vehicle 100 metres away.

Never drive with just the park lights on during these times.
When to dip your vehicle's headlights

You must dip your vehicle's headlights:

  • when other vehicles are coming towards you, so that you don't blind the oncoming driver
  • when you are following other vehicles
  • when a police officer is directing traffic
  • when you park.

If there is plenty of street light, you should be able to drive with your headlights dipped the whole time.
Speed at night

At night, just as during the daytime, you must drive at a safe speed. This means that:

  • on a road with lanes, you must be able to stop in the length of clear road you can see in front of you
  • on a road with no lanes, you must be able to stop in half the length of clear road you can see in front of you.

Safety tips for night driving

Driving at night is more dangerous than driving during the day. To improve your safety on the road at night:

  • make sure your windscreen and lights are clean
  • never wear dark glasses
  • watch for pedestrians and cyclists they are harder to see at night
  • stop and rest if you are sleepy
  • don't blind other drivers with your vehicle's headlights dip them when vehicles are coming towards you or when you are following another vehicle
  • if you are blinded by the lights of oncoming vehicles:

    • slow down or stop
    • try to keep your eyes on the left side of the road, so you aren't looking directly at the light

  • drive at a speed that means you can see the road at least two seconds ahead.

Use markers to guide you when driving at night

Many roads have reflectors and guide posts to help you 'read' the road at night.

Be aware that at night, because most road signs are highly reflective, your lights shining on them may make you think you can clearly see further than you really can. Make sure you drive more slowly and carefully at night, particularly on unfamiliar roads.

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Re: Dangerous Driving Conditions

Post by Admin on Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:14 pm

When conditions change

Road works

Road repair crews often have to work on roads to keep them in good condition. This means you will sometimes come across heavy vehicles, machinery and workers on the road, which you must be careful around.
The road surface itself can also be dangerous when under repair, as it may be uneven or have new seal.
When you see a road works sign, always slow down and be ready to stop.
Obey the signs

If there are road works on the road ahead, it will always be clearly signposted.
Slow down and read the signs. They will prepare you for the particular hazards you are about to face.

Because it can be dangerous to drive through road works or on new seal, temporary speed limit signs are often posted. You must drive at or below the speed shown on the temporary speed limit sign.
Obey any directions given

Road workers may sometimes need to stop traffic. They may use temporary traffic signals or hand-held 'Stop/Go' signs. Beware that some road works especially on motorways and fast moving roads can also have speed cameras set up or cameras that can measure and calculate your speed and distance. Look for temporary speed limit reductions and stick to them. Accidents involving road workers can result in death or serious injuries occuring. Observe a good distance from the vehicle you are following.

Road surface

There are three main types of surface used on the UK's roads and highways:

  • asphalt
  • chip-seal
  • gravel.

You may need to adjust your driving to suit the particular surface you are driving on and how each type of surface can affect your vehicle's handling. You should also be alert for changes in the road surface.

Asphalt has a smooth, black appearance and produces a low level of road noise when you drive over it. It's often used on busy roads and curves because it stands up well to wear caused by braking vehicles.
Asphalt provides good overall grip, but has reduced skid resistance when it is wet. This means you should slow down and take extra care when driving on asphalt in wet weather.


Chip-seal consists of a thin layer of stones set in tar. It has a rough appearance when in good condition, but may wear smooth with age and frequent use.
Worn chip-seal has reduced skid resistance, so be alert for smooth patches as you drive.
Slow down on newly laid chip-seal. There may be patches of loose chips, which can increase your risk of skidding. Loose chips can also be thrown up when vehicles drive over them and could break your windscreen.


Gravel (sometimes called 'metal') is usually only used on roads that don't have much traffic. Gravel roads tend to be minor roads in rural areas.
Because gravel can move under your wheels, it offers very low skid resistance. Loose stones may also be thrown up by vehicles. Because of this you need to drive very carefully on gravel roads. Adjust your speed to suit the conditions.
You will also need to take extra care in dry weather, as your visibility may be reduced by dust that will be thrown up by any vehicles in front of you. Always increase your following distance to stay back from the dust cloud.

Last edited by Admin on Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:21 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Dangerous Driving Conditions

Post by Admin on Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:18 pm


Sunstrike can occur at any time, but is most likely during sunrise or sunset, when the sun's rays hit your windscreen at a low angle. This can make it difficult, or even impossible, to see. This is a very dangerous condition to drive in.
To avoid a crash, follow the guidelines shown below.
Reducing the danger of sunstrike

  • Be prepared for possible sunstrike when driving at sunrise or sunset, especially when turning or driving towards the sun.
  • Be especially careful in winter, when sunstrike is more likely to occur because the sun is lower in the sky.
  • Keep your windscreen clean, inside and out. Dust and grime on the windscreen can make the effects of sunstrike much worse.
  • Wear sunglasses when driving with the sun in your eyes.
  • Use your car's sun visors to block the sun.
  • If you experience sunstrike, it may be best to pull over and wait for a few minutes until your eyes adjust or visibility improves.
  • Be careful if snow has fallen and the sky is clear sunlight shining on snow can cause 'snow blindness', which produces similar effects to sunstrike.
  • If driving through a shaded area that is partially covered by tree branches there could be a risk of being phased by sunlight.

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Post by Admin on Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:22 pm

Hazards and emergencies

Dealing with hazards

As a driver, you will constantly face hazards on the road. A hazard is any object or situation that could be dangerous.
Hazards include:

  • intersections
  • curves or bends in the road
  • pedestrian crossings
  • the position or movement of other road users, such as other vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians
  • changes in weather and road conditions.

To deal with hazards safely, you should get into the habit of using the hazard action plan and system of car control described in this section.
The hazard action plan

When you're driving you should always be:

  • identifying potential hazards that could affect you
  • predicting how the hazard might develop and endanger your safety
  • deciding what action to take to negotiate the hazard
  • acting upon your decision by using the system of car control.

The system of car control

This system is a safe and simple method of driving that will help you deal with hazards safely. It ensures you are always positioned in the right place on the road, and travelling at the right speed and in the right gear.
Use this system when you approach any type of hazard.
Course of action: when you see a hazard, decide on the best way to deal with it. For example, if there are children playing near the kerb, the best thing to do may be to move as far away from the children as possible, while still keeping on your side of the road.
Mirrors: check your mirrors frequently to see the position of all other traffic around you.
Signal: always signal if you intend to change your position on the road.
Brake: use the brakes to reduce your speed.
Gear: select the correct gear for the speed you have chosen.
Accelerate: accelerate safely to leave the hazard.
Multiple hazards

It is rare to come across only one hazard at a time when driving. Most of the time you will have to deal with several hazards at once.
This means you will need to stay aware of all the hazards, but give most attention to the hazard that is most likely to develop into a dangerous situation and require you to take urgent action.
Identifying the 'main' hazard

The following illustrations show scenes involving multiple hazards for the driver of the blue car. Remember, the main hazard is the one that is most likely to require you to take urgent action.

Hazard A is the main hazard. The cyclist is about to pull out around the parked car and move into the path of the blue car.


Hazard B is the main hazard. This car is reversing out of a parking space and about to enter the path of the blue car.


Hazard D is the main hazard. This car is about to turn across the path of the blue car.


Hazard B is the main hazard. The child's attention is focused on the adult on the other side of the road. Remember, the child may try to cross the road without looking.

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Re: Dangerous Driving Conditions

Post by Admin on Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:08 pm

Safe driving tips

Extend your vision

One of the most important things you can do to be a safer driver is to look well ahead of you when you're driving, so you can pick up potentially dangerous situations before it's too late.
The earlier you spot a potential hazard, the more time you will have to be ready to take evasive action.
Rather than looking only as far as the vehicle in front of you when driving, you should actually be scanning the road in front of you to a distance of at least 12 seconds ahead of where your car is that is, the place you will be after driving for 12 seconds.
As a rough guide, 12 seconds is approximately six cars ahead.
Keep your eyes moving

Many people only look ahead of them when driving. This means they're not getting the full picture of what's happening on the road.
As well as looking ahead, you should also use your mirrors to look to the sides and behind every few seconds while you drive. This will help you spot potentially dangerous situations that could be forming around or behind you.
Moving your eyes regularly and concentrating on what's going on around you will also help you to stay alert on long journeys.
Create a safety cushion

You should create a 'cushion' of safety around your whole vehicle by making sure there is a safe distance in all directions between you, other vehicles and potential hazards.
This will give you and other road users more time and space to avoid any hazards.

  • Create a cushion of safety ahead of you by maintaining a safe following distance. Use the two-second rule - or the four-second rule when appropriate.
  • Create a cushion of safety behind you by maintaining a safe distance between you and any following vehicles. If a vehicle is following you too closely, slow down, move over and let it pass as soon as you can do so safely.
  • Create a safety cushion to your sides by keeping a safe distance from any hazards on your sides, such as driveways, parked vehicles, cyclists or children playing on the footpath.


The cheapest insurance you can have is space around your vehicle.
The more space you have the safer you will be.

Don't get distracted

It's easy to get distracted when you're driving. Things like music, talking passengers, passing scenery and roadside advertising can all divert your attention from your driving and the road.
You must learn to ignore distractions and concentrate on your driving when you're behind the wheel. If, for any reason, you must look away from the road, follow the pointers below:

  • Check well ahead and behind for any potential hazards. Don't look away if you can see potential hazards.
  • Remember, if you do look away from the road, you will still have to steer. Tighten your grip on the steering wheel so you can keep steering safely.
  • Never take your eyes off the road for more than a few seconds.

Identify escape routes

Following the tips above will help you avoid many potentially dangerous crashes. However, despite all your best efforts, there may still be occasions when you find yourself on a direct collision course with another vehicle or other hazard.
For this reason, it is wise to identify possible escape routes all the time while you're driving. That way, if you find yourself in danger of a crash, you'll be ready to take quick evasive action.
Most escape routes will be to your left, so take note of what's on the left-hand side of the road as you drive. Ask yourself questions like:

  • 'Is there a wide shoulder I could steer onto?'
  • 'Can I steer off the road safely if I need to?'

If there are no safe escape routes, reduce your speed and increase your following distance so you can stop in plenty of time if a crash situation develops.
Furthering your driver education

As a driver, you never stop learning. You should always be looking for ways to improve your safe driving skills.
Practice, combined with the right attitude, will help you refine your skills.

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Re: Dangerous Driving Conditions

Post by Admin on Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:13 pm

Tips for handling driving emergencies

Sometimes, no matter how carefully you drive, you may still find yourself in an emergency situation. This section describes how to handle emergencies if they develop.

Skids don't happen without reason. They are usually caused by:

  • heavy acceleration
  • heavy braking
  • changing direction suddenly
  • driving too fast on wet or unsealed roads.

Different kinds of skids require you to take different corrective action. You should know what to do if your car goes into a skid.
Note: the following guidelines relate only to vehicles with conventional brakes and not vehicles with ABS brakes
If your vehicle has ABS brakes, never pump the brakes in an emergency. Keep the pedal pressed down hard and steer out of trouble.
Four-wheel skid

In a four-wheel skid, all four wheels lock under heavy braking.
You should:

  • pump your brakes gently so the wheels turn and grip the road again.
    Four-wheel skid


Front-wheel skid (understeer)

In a front-wheel skid, the vehicle goes in a straight line instead of following the direction your front wheels are turned in.
In this kind of skid you shouldn't brake.
You should:

  • push in the clutch (if driving a manual vehicle)
  • take your foot off the accelerator
  • turn the steering wheel in the direction that the vehicle is heading
  • once you've regained control, let the clutch out.


Front-wheel skid

Rear-wheel skid (oversteer)

In a rear-wheel skid, the rear of the vehicle swings out.
In this kind of skid you shouldn't brake.
You should:

  • push in the clutch (if driving a manual vehicle)
  • take your foot off the accelerator
  • turn the steering wheel in the direction that the rear wheels are sliding
  • once you've regained control, let the clutch out.


Rear-wheel skid

Tyre blowouts

Tyre blowouts can be dangerous, especially if you are driving fast, because they can cause your vehicle to lose control.
A front-tyre blowout will usually cause the vehicle to 'pull' towards the side with the blowout. A rear-tyre blowout will usually cause the vehicle to sway from side to side.
You can try to avoid having a blowout by checking your tyres regularly. If a tyre has a large cut or bulge, or is very worn, it needs to be replaced.
If you do have a blowout while driving, you should:

  • grip the steering wheel tightly
  • ease off the accelerator
  • try to keep the vehicle on its path
  • signal and steer to the side of the road once you've reduced speed.

Engine failure

If your engine cuts out suddenly while driving, you must try to get the vehicle to the side of the road as quickly and safely as possible.
You should:

  • signal and steer towards the side of the road
  • put the gears into neutral this will help you roll further
  • put your hazard lights on once you've stopped.

If your vehicle has power steering, it will be difficult to steer once the engine is dead. Try not to be alarmed by the reduced control. Grip the wheel tightly and steer as best as you can.
Jammed accelerator

An instinctive response of many drivers to a jammed accelerator is to turn the engine off. This isn't a good idea, particularly if your vehicle has power steering and braking, as this will make it much harder to steer and the brakes will be less effective.
You should:

  • try to lift the accelerator up with your toes
  • leave the vehicle in gear
  • brake the brakes will be strong enough to stop the vehicle, even with the engine going
  • keep steering and look for a spot where you can safely pull of the road.

Shattered windscreen

Shattered windscreens are becoming less common these days because modern vehicles are fitted with laminated windscreens, which crack but don't shatter. (Cracks weaken a windscreen. Always repair or replace a cracked windscreen as soon as possible.)
If you are driving an older model vehicle and your windscreen shatters, you should:

  • steer by looking through the side window if you can't see through the shattered windscreen. If you have been concentrating on the road ahead by using the '12-second rule' you should have a good mental picture of the road, which will help you steer
  • avoid pushing a hole in the shattered glass unless absolutely necessary. You will probably cut your hand and pieces of broken glass will be blown into your eyes
  • pull over and stop as soon as possible
  • once you have stopped, punch out the shattered glass using a jack or another tool. If no tools are available, wrap your hand in thick cloth (such as a jersey or towel) and carefully knock out the glass
  • drive at a reduced speed to the nearest windscreen repairer.

Vehicle fire

It's a good idea to carry a fire extinguisher in your vehicle. You never know when you may need it.
As vehicle fires can take hold quickly, you should keep the extinguisher in an easy-to-reach place. In or beneath the glove-box is a good spot.
If you think your vehicle is on fire, don't take any chances. You will need to act immediately. You should:

  • pull over to the side of the road
  • turn off the engine
  • try to put out the fire:

    • if the fire is small, try to put it out by using your fire extinguisher
    • if you don't have a fire extinguisher, try to put the fire out using soil, sand or water if it is available.


If the fire is a large one, or if fuel is leaking, the vehicle could explode. Get everyone clear of the vehicle and try to warn approaching vehicles.
Bonnet flying up

You can try to avoid getting into this situation by:

  • remembering to re-fasten your vehicle's bonnet securely whenever you open it
  • pulling over to the side of the road immediately if you notice the bonnet flexing or coming loose while you are driving.

If the bonnet flies up while you are driving you should:

  • steer by looking through the gap under the hinge of the bonnet or out the side window
  • brake smoothly, indicate and move over to the left-hand side of the road.

Brake failure

If your vehicle's brakes fail, it will be an alarming experience.
You can try to avoid this happening by checking your brakes regularly. Always replace worn brake pads immediately and top up the brake fluid levels whenever necessary.
If your brakes do fail while driving:

  • change to a lower gear automatic vehicles included to help slow the vehicle down
  • pump the brakes hard and quickly to make use of any capacity still left in the hydraulic brake system
  • gradually pull up on the handbrake don't pull too hard or you may cause the rear wheels to lock
  • warn other road users by switching on your headlights and hazard lights and sounding your horn
  • look for an 'escape route', such as a wide shoulder of the road, a flat field or an uphill road
  • if you are travelling downhill and the vehicle is starting to lose control, try to scrape against something on the side of the road, such as a safety rail, a bank or the kerb.

Headlight failure

It's uncommon for both headlights to fail while you are driving, but it can happen.
If your headlights do fail while you're driving, you should:

  • slow down
  • move off the road gradually and stop somewhere safe
  • turn your hazard lights on.

Avoiding a head-on crash

A head-on crash is probably the most dangerous type of crash you can be involved in. This is because when two vehicles collide head-on the force of the impact is usually twice as much as it is when a vehicle hits a non-moving object.
If you find yourself heading towards a head-on crash, there are some things you can do to try and avoid the crash or limit its damage:

  • Brake hard. Every mile of speed that you slow down by will lessen the impact of a crash if it happens.
  • Flash your headlights and blow your horn to attract the attention of the other driver.
  • Look for an escape route to your left, even if it means driving off the road. A roll-over accident is likely to be less dangerous than a head-on crash.
  • Don't swerve to your right. The other driver is mostly likely to respond by swerving to their left and you would be likely to crash into each other.

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