Drivers Warned as Children Return to School
Drivers are being advised to remain vigilant during their morning commute as schools across the country welcome back their students for the autumn term.
This will lead to an increase in cars and other vehicles on the road, as well as an increase in people who are walking and cycling.
Traffic volumes are set to rise in the morning as students begin to commute to school again, and drivers should be on the lookout for vulnerable individuals when driving in the early hours.
So, what can you do to ensure everyone’s safety during the morning commute as children return to school?
Plan your route before you travel
If possible, you may want to try to plan your route to avoid congested areas and traffic before you travel. Finding an alternative route may be beneficial for your travel time as well as for the safety of pedestrians.
Planning your route in advance and making sure you have enough time to drive to your destination without rushing is important. Planning ahead can also help you to avoid frustration or distraction whilst travelling, as you will know exactly where you need to go, as well as how long your journey will take.
Pay attention to the speed limit
Drivers should pay extra attention to the speed limit of the roads they are travelling on. School zones and some residential areas have adopted a 20mph speed limit in place in order to keep speed low. It is both a traffic calming measure, as well as safer for pedestrians.
The Department for Transport figures show 86% of cars speed in 20mph zones, rising to 94% in the early hours of the morning. Car drivers are 10 times more likely to flout the law in a 20mph zone than in a 60mph zone.
This is a worrying statistic, and drivers should be aware that speeding can lead to a fine and penalty points being added to their license. 12 or more penalty points within a 3 year period can lead to a person being disqualified from driving.
Take extra care
Research published by Think! Revealed that almost two-thirds (62%) of 11-16 year old’s admit to being distracted on their way to school. This could lead to them not paying full attention to what is going around them and may lead them to wander into the road. For this reason, it is important for drivers to keep their attention on the road and remain vigilant.
Another worrying statistic is that a third of UK drivers use their phones at the wheel. A survey by a leading online aggregator showed that 34% of motorists used their phone whilst in stationary traffic, and a quarter used them whilst moving. Responsible drivers should not use their phones while driving and should exercise care by being attentive.
Make sure you have sufficient rest
Fatigue is a major cause of road accidents, with an estimated 10%-20% of all crashes being caused by fatigued driving.
Even mild, short-term sleep deprivation can affect a drivers alertness and slow decision-making. Being awake for 18 hours can have the same negative impact upon your ability to drive safely as being over the legal drink-drive limit in the UK.
A fatigued drivers ability to accurately judge vehicle speed and control while steering is also affected, which is why it is so important to take fatigue seriously.
Some signs of being too fatigued to drive include:
- Trouble keeping your eyes in focus
- Difficulty keeping your eyes open
- Difficulty with concentration
- Excessive yawning
- Head nodding
- Being unable to recall driving the last few miles
To address fatigue, a driver should keep good sleeping habits, a healthy diet and take breaks as needed.
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