Table of Contents
- Stick to the speed limit
- Don't use your mobile phone while driving
- Stay alert
- Share the road
- Keep a safe distance
- Check your surroundings
- Overtake safely
- Know what to do if you break down
- Don't mix drugs and driving
- Avoid road rage
- Maintain your car
- Buy a safer vehicle
Safe driving not only protects you and your passengers, it keeps other road users safe and can save you money on insurance premiums. All drivers have a responsibility to stay alert and ready to take action.
Even if you're an experienced driver, it's important to brush up on your road safety knowledge. After all, road safety is a lot more than wearing your seat belt and keeping your hands on the steering wheel.
Check out these car safety tips to keep yourself and others safe on the road:
1. Stick to the speed limit
Speed is the biggest factor involved in road deaths and can increase your risk of having a car accident. Stick to the signed speed limits and slow down if the conditions aren't good. If there's rain, poor visibility or road works, slowing down can help you navigate the situation confidently and keep yourself and others on the road safe.
2. Don't use your mobile phone while driving
Using your mobile phone or other devices while driving distracts you from what's happening on the road. Even a 2-second distraction can increase your risk of crashing. It not only puts you and your car at risk, but could be potentially fatal for others sharing the road with you, including pedestrians, motorcyclists and other drivers.
3. Stay alert
Driver fatigue is one of the biggest causes of road deaths in Australia. It's not just falling asleep at the wheel that's dangerous. Tiredness slows down you reaction times and affects your ability to notice what's going on around you.
Before you get behind the wheel, check how tired you are. Consider taking a taxi or public transport instead, share the driving with a friend or take a power nap.
4. Share the road
Our roads are shared by a wide range of vehicles and transport methods. Knowing how to drive safely alongside pedestrians, cyclists, trucks and slow moving vehicles is important for keeping yourself and others safe.
Be cautious and patient around vehicles that are slower than you. Slow down and assess the risks before overtaking. Always check your blind spots before changing lanes and dip your high beams when other cars are in sight.
5. Keep a safe distance
Keeping a safe distance between your car and other vehicles can help reduce the risk of crashing in the case of sudden braking. In good conditions, you should stay at least 2 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. In wet conditions and on gravel roads, you should increase the distance. If you are following a heavy vehicle or a vehicle with a trailer, be aware that they make take longer to slow down.
6. Check your surroundings
Whether you are backing out of your driveway, navigating city traffic or driving on country roads, it's crucial to be aware of your surroundings.
Keep your eyes moving, check your mirrors regularly and scan the road ahead of you. If you notice a change in conditions, such as an unsafe driver or braking ahead, slow down and pull over if necessary.
7. Overtake safely
Overtaking can be dangerous, especially at high speeds. Make sure you have a clear view of oncoming traffic before overtaking and use your turn signals to let other drivers know what you're doing.
Don't overtake at an intersection, over a pedestrian crossing or when there's a continuous white line. When overtaking cyclists, leave a gap of 1.5m or 1m if you're driving slower than 60km/h.
8. Know what to do if you break down
If your car breaks down, find a safe place to pull over and make sure you can be seen by approaching traffic. Turn your hazard lights on. If you are on a freeway or busy street, it may not be safe to leave your car. Keep your seatbelt on if you remain in the car.
If you need to change your tyre or perform maintenance on your car, make sure it is safe to do so. Otherwise, wait for roadside assistance to arrive.
9. Don't mix drugs and driving
Alcohol, drugs and some medications can make driving very dangerous. They often slow down your reaction time and impair your ability to drive safely. If you know you are going to drink, plan ahead by taking a taxi or organising a designated driver who doesn't drink. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication.
10. Avoid road rage
Aggressive driving habits like tailgating, speeding and changing lanes too quickly are illegal and highly dangerous. If you encounter dangerous driving or road rage from another driver, drive cautiously and pull over if need be.
Keep calm when driving and avoid taking things personally. Do your best to drive safely and courteously, but expect the unexpected and accept that people make mistakes when driving. Take deep breaths and pull over if you can't control your emotions.
11. Maintain your car
Regular maintenance and servicing will help keep your car in good condition and can help improve safety for yourself, your passengers and other road users.
Regularly check your brake lights and headlights to ensure they're working and clean your windows to maximise visibility. Check your tyre pressure regularly, especially before you head off on a long drive.
Take your car for a service every 10,000km or more frequently if you notice an issue. For Mazda owners, we recommend a genuine Mazda service to ensure your car is getting the highest quality service and parts.
12. Buy a safer vehicle
If you're looking to buy a new car, consider the safety features when making your decision.
Look for cars with a 5-Star ANCAP safety rating like the Mazda 6 that offer a suite of advanced safety features. For example, the Mazda 6 offers as standard: Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Smart City Break Support, Adaptive LED Headlights and Mazda Radar Cruise Control.
Keen to test out the safety features for yourself? Book a test drive with Melville Mazda today.