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  • The speed limit is a limit not a target.

  • In some road conditions including fog, rain and traffic flow, driving or riding at the speed limit could be too fast.

  • The national Speed limit on single carriage roads is 60 mph. However, the average free flow speed is 48 mph on these roads.

Country roads

  • Read the road ahead, anticipate potential hazards and brake before the bend not into it.

  • Look out for hidden dips, upcoming bends blind summits and concealed entrances. Always drive at a speed which will allow you to stop in a distance you can see to be clear.


  • Remember the risks if you have to get up unusually early to start a long drive. Try to avoid a long trip between midnight and six am when you are likely to feel sleepy.

  • If you start to feel sleepy, find a safe place to stop (not the hard shoulder of a motorway). Drink two cups of coffee or a high-caffeine drink and have a rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow time for the caffeine to kick in.

  • Plan your journey to include a 15-minute break every 2 to 3 hours.

Mobile phones

  • Put your phone away before starting a journey, this way you won’t be tempted to use it.

  • Don’t contact someone’s mobile if you know they are driving or riding.

  • Make a pledge to not use your phone whilst driving or riding via RAC’s be phone smart.

Drink driving

  • If you are planning to drink alcohol, plan how to get home without driving. Agree a designated driver, save a taxi number in your phone, or find out about public transport routes and times.

  • Remember being only down the road is not an excuse to drive or ride under the influence of alcohol.

  • A large proportion of all drink driving crashes occur within three miles of the start of the journey.

Drug driving

  • Driving under the influence of drugs is extremely dangerous and negatively affects your abilities. Your perception of time and distance is distorted, resulting in poor concentration and control of the vehicle.

  • A sense of overconfidence can develop which can result in high risk behavior, including speeding and aggressive maneuvers.

  • Once the effects of a drug have worn off the user still may feel fatigue, affecting concentration levels and driving or riding abilities.


When driving, a few miles per hour can mean the difference between life and death. The faster someone drives, the less time they have to stop if something unexpected happens.

If you kill someone while speeding, you will have to live with the long-term emotional consequences.

Speed limits are there for a reason.

The facts

  • Speed is one of the main factors in fatal road accidents.

  • Fatal accidents are 4 times as likely on rural ‘A’ roads as urban ‘A’ roads.

  • 3,121 people were killed or seriously injured in accidents where ‘exceeding the speed limit’ or ‘travelling too fast for the conditions’ was recorded as a contributory factor by the police.

The law

  • You must not drive faster than the speed limit for the type of road and your type of vehicle.

  • The speed limit is the absolute maximum and it doesn’t mean it’s safe to drive at this speed in all conditions.

Mobile Phones

The facts

  • Drivers using a hands-free or handheld mobile phone are slower at recognising and reacting to hazards.

  • Research shows:

  • You are 4 times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone.

  • Your reaction times are 2 times slower if you text and drive than if you drink drive, and this increases to 3 times if you use a handheld phone.

  • Even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text – and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a crash. At 30 mph a car travels 100 feet in 2.3 seconds.

The law

  • It’s illegal to use a handheld mobile when driving – including using your phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media.

  • It is also illegal to use a handheld phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver.

These both apply even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.

You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked, or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.

If you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving, you’ll get 6 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200.

If you get just 6 points in the first 2 years after passing your test, you will lose your licence.

Using a hands-free device (for example, for navigation) is not illegal. However, if this distracts you and affects your ability to drive safely, you can still be prosecuted by the police.

Always wear a seat belt, and wear it correctly so it can offer you the best protection in a crash. You are twice as likely to die in a car crash if you do not. Even on short journeys, familiar journeys and at low speeds, not wearing a seat belt can be fatal.

Put your phone away before driving so you won’t be tempted to use it – make the glove compartment the phone compartment. Pull over if you need to adjust a
hands free device or check your map.

  • Driving too close to the car in front, undertaking and failing to signal are widely accepted as examples of bad driving. However, driving too fast is also poor

driving. It is a contributory factor in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries every year. Consider the emotional consequences of injuries and

deaths caused to others due to driving at excessive speeds and crashing. If you cause a crash you will have to live with these consequences.

Look out for vulnerable road users:

  • Look out for cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders. make eye contact where possible to show you have seen them. use your indicators to signal intentions

and look out for their signals.

  • Give cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders plenty of space when overtaking them. Don’t accelerate rapidly, sound your horn or rev your engine when passing horses and watch out for sudden movements by the horse.

  • Always check for cyclists and motorcyclists when opening your car door, pulling out at a junction, or when doing a maneuver.

  • Advanced stop lines at lights allow vulnerable road users to get to the front and increase their visibility. You must stop at the first white line reached if the lights amber or red. When the green signal shows allow the other road user time and space to move off.

Daniel Sheehy 


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