Look after your vehicle
Make sure your vehicle has a current MOT certificate and is serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Check your battery, oil, water, tyres and lights before long journeys.
Plan your journeys
Allow plenty of time to complete your journey.
Listen to the travel news to find out about local congestion or roadworks. View live traffic information for National Highways roads (opens in a new window).
Always wear a seatbelt
You’re twice as likely to die in a crash if you don't wear a seat belt. Wear your seatbelt and make sure that your passengers do too. The law says you must wear a seatbelt where one is fitted.
Under-12s should use the correct type of child car seat for their weight and height. Read more about child car seats (opens in a new window).
Switch off your mobile
You’re four times more likely to crash if you use a mobile while driving and your reaction times are likely to be 30 per cent worse than someone who is driving at the legal alcohol limit.
It’s illegal to drive while:
using a hand-held mobile phone, smartphone or palm-top computer
using any kind of electronic device to access the internet or to send or receive messages or images
It’s not illegal to drive while using a hands-free phone – but you can still be prosecuted if you’re distracted and not properly in control of your vehicle.
Don’t drive tired
Tiredness is responsible for around one-fifth of the crashes on major roads and it results in around 300 deaths every year.
Follow these top tips in order to stay alert while driving:
avoid alcohol and get plenty of sleep the night before your drive
avoid eating a heavy meal before you set off – it could make you sleepy
allow yourself enough time to take a 15-minute break every two hours.
avoid travelling between 2am and 7am or 2pm and 4pm – this is when drivers are most likely to crash due to tiredness
take a break if you feel tired - two cups of coffee and a ‘cat nap’ can help if you've only got a short distance left to travel: if not find somewhere safe to stay overnight.
Don’t drink if you’re planning to drive
Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive. Even if you don’t crash, you risk a fine of up to £5,000, a minimum 12-month driving ban and a criminal record.
Remember that alcohol doesn’t disappear from your system just because you‘ve had a few hours’ sleep. It’s not safe to drink until the early hours then drive to work in the morning.
Don’t take illegal drugs or medicine that could affect your ability to drive
It is an offence to drive or attempt to drive while unfit through drugs - and the law does not distinguish between illegal drugs and medicines.
Some prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines can cause drivers to experience drowsiness, impaired judgement and a lack of self-confidence behind the wheel. These effects can be more pronounced if medicines are not taken in the right quantities and at the right times.
Drive at a safe speed
Many people forget that the speed limit is a maximum, not a target. Sometimes it won’t be safe for you to travel that fast - when there’s congestion or bad weather, for example.
Read more about speed limits and speeding (opens in a new window).
Follow the Highway Code
The rules contained in the code are designed to protect all road users.
Many of the rules in the code are legal requirements. That means you could be fined, get points on your licence or be disqualified from driving if you don’t follow them.
Consider whether you could benefit from further training
It’s easy to get into bad habits or lose your confidence on today’s busy roads. You can get your driving assessed by a local instructor or a volunteer from either of the following organisations: