What causes road traffic accidents and how do you avoid them?

Causes of road accidents are vast and varied, but the answer to avoiding collisions usually comes down to the same thing – staying calm and concentrating. Road accident statistics show that there are thousands of accidents caused on UK roads each year. With increased levels of concentration, care and awareness, this figure could be significantly lowered.

Common causes of road accidents

Being distracted

As a taxi driver, it is common to interact with devices such as the radio, sat nav, or communication system while driving. However, taking one hand off the wheel and your eyes off the road can cause lapses in concentration on the road ahead, which can potentially be very dangerous. Whilst picking up and dropping off passengers, the safety of everyone in the vehicle is top priority.

How to avoid distractions:
Ensuring that you have made all necessary communications and researched the route prior to starting your journey can help prevent any further distractions while driving. If communication or route checking is essential, then pulling over in a safe place can prevent the likelihood of an accident. Wherever possible, invest in Bluetooth phone connection and voice activated dialling to avoid removing your hands from the wheel.

Rushing

Rushing while driving can cause road traffic collisions by not paying proper attention to the road. Miscalculating junctions, going over the speed limit, or missing amber lights and continuing through a junction are all potential outcomes of rushing while driving. Regardless of whether a passenger needs to be at a destination for a specific time or not, rushing leads to misjudgement, which can easily result in a car accident. Collisions in taxis not only put the driver and passenger at physical risk, but can result in a lack of work depending on how extensive the damage to the taxi is.

How to avoid rushing:
Ensuring that you plan ahead is essential. However, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you are behind on time, then remaining calm and driving sensibly will prevent any potential accidents on the road. In situations where you may be considerably late, then contacting your taxi base to send a new driver to pick up your intended fare can alleviate the stress of having to rush.

Weather Conditions

Though uncontrollable, having to adapt to road conditions is essential to keeping safe. Rain, fog, ice and snow can dramatically change the surface of the road, meaning you will have to adjust your driving style to ensure that you have full control of your vehicle. Snow, ice and rain will often require you to take a more cautious approach to driving, braking sooner and driving slower. Fog will require that all your lights are in full working order to ensure your visibility isn’t impaired more than it already will be due to the conditions. Not adapting to the conditions of the road can often cause road accidents, so it is essential to know how to change your driving style accordingly.

How to avoid road accidents in bad weather:
Knowing exactly how to respond to changing weather conditions is paramount to keeping you and your passengers safe. Slowing down in heavy rain will avoid aquaplaning, as well as skidding or getting stuck in ice or snow. Quoting longer waiting times to passengers can also help deal with the change in conditions.

Bad observations

Being observant to the road and your surroundings is easy when you know where you are going, but can often be more difficult if you’re driving through an unfamiliar setting. Road signs may be missed, and potentially dangerous manoeuvres may be attempted that can put you and other road users in danger. No entry roads, U-turns, left or right only, keep clear boxes and various other markings and signs can easily be missed if you aren’t familiar with what to expect.

How to stay observant:
If you know that you will be entering an area that you won’t recognise, then preparing beforehand will leave you more confident on the roads. If you enter an area that you don’t know without prior warning, then using the signs and markings around you will help you to navigate. An extra sense of observation is key.

Tiredness

Tiredness is one of the worst causes for car crashes every year. Being tired causes a lack of concentration and focus, which can very easily result in a road traffic accident. The advice for all drivers when feeling tired is to pull over somewhere safe to rest. Although the safety advice itself should not change from one driver to the next, the truth of the matter is that it is very different for taxi drivers. When your job requires you to drive, you cannot simply pull over and stop. However, taxi drivers will be at high risk, as you will often be driving for much longer than the average car journey. Although taxi road accidents make up a small percentage of those that occur each year, they can still happen if unprepared.

How to avoid road accidents when tired:
Preparing for a shift in the right way will help you keep alert while driving. If you ever feel that you may be getting tired, then taking a small break between fares to get some fresh air and wake yourself up will always help.

As a taxi driver, safe driving is important for keeping you and your passengers safe at all times. Avoiding unnecessary situations and responding to the road accordingly will help prevent causing any road traffic accidents and ensure all of your journeys are safe and successful. To protect yourself against potential car accidents or taxi crashes, make sure you protect yourself with a comprehensive taxi policy. Contact Cover My Cab today for more information.

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