Within the UK, London is notorious for heavy traffic and congestion. In 2016 INRIX concluded that the time wasted by drivers in traffic could amount to £42 billion within the next 10 years. This is an extraordinary amount of money. With the famed M25 circling London and Heathrow Airport being situated here, it is no surprise that traffic is consistently heavy. Initially, the congestion charge was extended to west London in 2007 to try and combat the growing levels of traffic yet this was reversed in 2010.
Traffic jams are a danger for drivers in a variety of ways. The rational decision-making process of drivers can become severely impaired by the effects of being held up in traffic jams and congestion. Unsurprisingly, frustration and discomfort can emerge from being sat in traffic, which can cloud the judgement of the driver as they may want to make up for their lost time. This can then result in speeding or cutting up other drivers as they try to overtake others in the queue. Similarly, by trying to use an alternative route, traffic could be generated in more suburban areas which pose greater risk to both pedestrians, cyclists and fellow drivers.
Yet, traffic is very often unavoidable within busy areas, especially in peak times such as rush hour. It is vital that the safety of not only yourself as a driver but passengers, fellow drivers and road users and pedestrians is considered to ensure everyone can reach their destination safely. Following these road safety tips can ensure that safety:
Turning in the road
Sometimes it’s just not possible to continue sitting in a traffic jam. Whether this is because you will be late to an important meeting or because you’ve become too frustrated and impatient, the safety of yourself and those around you needs to always be maintained. It may be possible to turn your car around in a nearly by side road or within the road in order to seek an alternative route. If this is what you choose to do, make sure drivers around you are aware you are doing this and there are no pedestrians at risk before you turn your car around.
Be aware of the advice in place
In order to be the safest drive possible it is vital to be aware of all of the advice and guidance provided by the local authority. Within London especially, it is crucial that the precautions and advice given by TFL are adhered to as these are implemented for the safety of both drivers and pedestrians. For example, according to a firm of accident claims specialists, in 2015 there were over 350 vehicle breakdowns in or approaching Blackwall Tunnel in East London. This is why it is vital that your car is working efficiently and has a good level of fuel if you think you may hit a traffic jam. If your vehicle breaks down you could cause increased levels of disruption for other drivers.
Similarly, you may be able to avoid some traffic disruption to your journey by keeping up to date with road works within the city. TFL has some of the planned works in central London on their website if this is your morning commute.
It is possible that this may not seem like a concern for west Londoners when they’re driving, however with more than 450 people recorded to have been injured in road traffic accidents involving either sheep or deer, it is important that all drivers are wary of road wildlife, regardless of their location. These accidents have reportedly caused the death of around 40,000 of the animals. Other smaller animals may be more common for causing issues in areas like as west London such as foxes, squirrels and badgers.
Most drivers will drive in other areas of the country for holidays, therefore it is important that all drivers are aware of wildlife of all kinds wandering onto the road. For example, it is paramount that you are increasingly aware in rural areas such as the North York Moors and the Peak District as they are renowned for their deer populations.
The weather can have great affects upon driving conditions. The transition from summer to autumn can bring with it further hazards on the road. For example, when the clocks go back, the sun is then in a different position when commuters embark on their journeys in the morning. This could mean that this powerful sunlight disrupts the vision of the driver. This is especially hazardous early in the morning as fellow drivers may not be as alert.
It is vital to ensure that your vehicle is prepared for high levels of morning sunlight. A pair of sunglasses should always be kept in the car for high levels of sunlight at all times of the day. Similarly, before embarking on your journey, you should always check your windscreen is clear, as sunlight will pick up any small pieces of dirt and this could cloud your vision. This dirt is very common on London windscreens due to higher levels of pollution.
Conversely, dark weather can also prove a problem for drivers. Autumn is famous for the return of foggy and rainy conditions. If it appears this is the case one morning, make sure you leave extra time for your journey so you do not have to drive recklessly in these adverse conditions. Again, when the driving conditions appear to be difficult, you should always perform checks on your vehicle before you leave. This will help to ensure the safety of yourself and those around you.
When driving in these difficult conditions, both in high levels of sunlight and on foggy or rainy days, make sure you adhere to the speed limits. These limits have been put in place to ensure the safety of both drivers and passengers so it is important that all drivers are aware of these.
Accidents do happen but by taking these steps to ensure the safety of yourself and others, these can be kept to a minimum.