This post including suggestions, warnings and tips that drivers should read to help ensure the safety of themselves and their passengers.
Safety should not be left to chance and modern car manufacturers include some important features within their vehicles designed to increase safety by reducing the risk of an accident and reducing the risk of injury if an accident occurs. However these features can only work well if the car occupants adjust them properly.
These safety features are often taken for granted but include:
- Front and side airbags
- Head protection airbags
- Special mounting points for child seats
- Special seat belt tensioners that hold you back in the seat during an accident
- Height adjustable seat belts
- Height and rake steering wheel adjustment
- Full front seat adjustability, forward, back, up and down.
Before Starting Your Journey.
The driver is responsible for all passengers and the car at all times so it is important to check the points below before starting a journey:
- Make sure the mirrors and drivers seat are adjusted correctly to allow safe operation of the hand and foot controls and have a good view behind and along side the car
- Ensure nothing heavy is unfastened or loose on the back seat which may become a projectile if you have stop suddenly
- Make sure that nothing has fallen into the drivers footwell that could affect the operation of the pedals
- Make sure the tyre pressures are correct
- Ask your passengers to check their seat belt buckle is properly fastened
- Make sure that children are properly secured with a seat belt or an appropriate child seat. It is still a drivers responsibility even with the children’s parents in the car.
- Check that all the lights and indicators are working properly
- When necessary, make sure child safety door locks are activated
What Can Affect Driving Safely?
A motor vehicle is potentially a lethal weapon and the safety of passengers and other road users is totally dependent on the concentration and control the driver has over the vehicle. If a driver has his/her concentration impaired in any way then other road users and passengers’ will be increasingly endangered. In extreme cases the driver may be prosecuted for negligence, dangerous driving and more serious offences leading to imprisonment.
To help limit risk the following tips will be useful:
- The driver must avoid being distracted by the use of a mobile phone, radio controls or other passengers or children in the car
- Never drive any motor vehicle when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If on medication the driver must read the label and/or clarify with a doctor about its effect on judgement, awareness and concentration
- Keep to the speed limits, follow the rules of the road and be advised by the road signs
- Drive at a speed which is appropriate to the road, traffic and weather conditions. A driver must always be able to stop within the distance seen to be clear.
- Tiredness kills. Avoid driving for more than two hours at a time without a break
- Avoid driving when stressed or feeling impatient – it clouds judgement and increases risk of accident and injury
Front Car Seating Position
To allow enough room for the airbags to inflate and give the most protection to the driver and front passenger in an accident, the driving must sit no closer than 25 cm from the steering wheel and the passenger no closer than 25 cm from the front dash board. It is best to move the passenger seat as far back from the dash board as possible whilst adjusting the seat upright so the passenger can keep his/her back against the seat fabric. The back of the passengers head shoud also be close to the head restraint to protect the neck in the event of a rear end shunt.
Front passengers who travel with the back or the seat reclined risk serious injury due to the wrong position of the seatbelt during moments of sudden or firm braking. It also means that the airbag safety system will not give the level of protection it was designed for.
Incorrect Sitting Positions
Car passengers may inflict serious or sometimes fatal injuries if they are not seated correctly when the vehicle is on the move. Unless they are seated properly the seatbelt and other safety features will not work properly, if at all. People should be aware the following may cause injury and should:
- Never stand or kneel on the seats
- Never recline the back of the seat when on the move
- Never lean against or put feet up on the dash board
- Never sit sideways or on the edge of the seat
- Never lean out or put your feet out of the windows
- Never sit in the footwell
- Never travel without wearing a seatbelt
- Never climb into the front or back while the car is moving
- Never open a car door whilst in motion
- Never sit in the rear luggage area
- Never travel with large or heavy items on your lap which could become a projectile
The Drivers Footwell
The accelerator, brake and clutch pedals should always be clear of obstruction by items being placed in the footwell or incorrectly positioned floor mats preventing them from being fully pressed down to the floor. To prevent the floor mats rolling up underneath the pedals make sure they can be fixed securely to the carpet