New Year is a great time for most of us. From wintery festivities to work parties and family gatherings, you might also be thinking of using the dawn of a new year to embark on a whole new you. New Year’s resolutions are often doomed to fail, but that’s because they can be tough to keep. That’s not necessarily the case with these six ideas for becoming a better road user though – just a simple change in your driving habits and you could feel a whole lot better about yourself in 2020.
Unless you’re psychic, it’s impossible to know what other drivers are thinking. That’s why we have indicators. Simple, effective, easy to use too- yet some of us don’t bother with them. As well as being annoying for other road users and pedestrians, it can also be very dangerous and lead to collisions. This is especially the case on roundabouts where people cut across other lanes, or if you’re travelling along a road with a high speed limit and have cars following close behind. Using your indicators correctly better ensures everyone's safety on the roads
Leave space for cyclists
Whether being overtaken by an endless stream of cyclists in the city centre, or trying to get past a solitary rider out on country roads, lots of drivers can become impatient with our pedal-powered friends. Their silent slicing through traffic may be hard to detect at times, but most of us could be better at leaving space for our fellow road users, particularly at red lights where lots of cars often come to a stop on the Advanced Stop Lines that we commonly call bike boxes.
Avoid last-minute braking
It can be pretty alarming when someone comes steaming up behind you while you’re waiting in traffic or at a red light, so don’t be the person that does it to other drivers. Constantly stopping late puts more strain on your whole braking system, causing your pads and discs to wear out faster. It’s also more of a drain on your fuel compared to a smooth, considered driving style. So, as well as putting the jitters on someone when you suddenly loom large in their mirrors, you’re also doing your own car no favours at all by braking late.
Don’t take slip roads late
This is one most of us have been guilty of, whether by accident or design. The sight of a long queue to get off the motorway can be a pretty unappealing prospect, especially if you’re running late. But it’s highly irritating for people who sit and wait, only for you to sneak into the slip lane at the last second. The key to sticking to this resolution is to leave yourself plenty of time for your journeys, and avoid last-minute dashes in heavy traffic.
Don’t take up two parking spaces
We’ve all been there. You’re crawling through a packed car park looking for a space, and a feeling of joy and wonder washes over you at the sight of an empty spot. As you pull up though, you find that someone has left their car over the line and taken up two spaces. This can set off a chain reaction that infuriates a succession of innocent parkers, and it’s easily solved - park your car between the lines at all times!
Don't use your phone while driving
Although it became illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving way back in 2003, 16% of motorists still admit to texting, emailing or posting on social media while driving, and 25% admit to making or receiving hand-held calls. By doing this, you are not only breaking the law, but you are also endangering other road users. Pretty much all modern cars allow you to make and receive calls hands-free, so you should avoid touching your phone completely whilst behind the wheel. If you’re unsure about the rules of phone use while driving, check out our useful guide
With your now-competent and confident driving style, it might even be a case of 'new year, new set of wheels'!
Why not take a look at our extensive range of new and used cars? If you see anything that peaks your interest, you can always contact your nearest dealership and arrange a test drive.