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In-Car Safety

Cars have become part of our daily life; we use them more to travel to work, to take children to school, to go shopping or for leisure.

Travelling in cars is so convenient that we often forget the dangers involved.

  • By wearing seat belts, we greatly reduce the risk of injury if a collision happens whilst travelling in the car
  • Nearly half of all children killed or injured in traffic incidents are passengers in cars. Wearing correct restraints reduces the risk of injury to children by up to 65%
  • Drivers are responsible by law for making sure that any child under 14 years old travelling in the car is properly restrained.

 

Seat Belts

Wearing a seat belt greatly reduces the chances of serious or fatal injury.

  • You must - even on short journeys - wear your seat belt at all times. Most accidents occur in urban areas, and within a short distance of the driver's home
  • By law, the driver and all passengers in cars and taxis, whether children or adults, must wear seat belts where they are fitted
  • Seat belts are not a restriction on your freedom – they are a proven way of making motoring safer.

 

For more information on Child Car seats click here ( opens in a new window)

 

But it's not just about wearing a seatbelt. Our actions inside a car can have a devastating effect on what goes on outside.

Mobile Phones

It is against the law to use a hand held mobile phone or similar device while driving except to call 999 or 112 in a genuine emergency when it is unsafe or impractical to stop. Using a mobile phone hands free facility is shown to be just as distracting. So it is only safe to use a mobile phone in a car when parked in a safe place with the handbrake on and the engine turned off. For more information on Mobiles and Driving click here ( opens in a new window)

 

Other Distractions

Safe driving requires concentration. Concentration is defined as the application of both mental and physical endeavours to the exclusion of everything else. So you cannot concentrate on your driving if you are:-

  • Playing loud music (this can mask other sounds)
  • Trying to read a map
  • Tuning a radio
  • Inserting a CD
  • Selecting a track on an MP3 player or similar
  • Eating or drinking
  • Arguing with passengers or other road users
  • Smoking
  • Programming a sat nav device
  • Using a PC or other multimedia device

 

Safety Tips

The car

  • A well maintained car is less likely to break down,so have your car regularly maintained by a reputable garage.
  • Carry useful items such as, jump leads, tow rope, fire extinguisher, car jack, warning triangle and life hammer.
  • In winter, always ensure that the car's battery is in good condition and fully charged, and that the windscreen washer reservoir is kept full. Use an additive to reduce the risk of freezing. Keep an ice scraper and de-icer spray handy in winter and a moisture displacing spray, E.g., WD40. Damp electrics are a frequent cause of winter breakdowns. Do not carry de-icer in the car as they can explode in a car fire.
  • Plan your route if the journey is unfamiliar and, if possible, keep to well lit main roads. Carry an up to date road atlas or use a route finder to back up a sat nav if you have one.

 

Personal

  • Where possible, tell someone your route and what time you expect to arrive.
  • Carry additional items in your car for yourself and your child, such as essential foods, protective clothing, sensible shoes, blanket, torch and  money.
  • Carry a mobile phone. If you breakdown, this will help you to contact your motoring organisation or garage more easily and accelerate the arrival of help.
  • Always put a pushchair in the car when small children are on board, even when you do not plan to use it. If you breakdown and need to walk to get help, it will be easier and less stressful for you and your child to use a pushchair rather than having to carry your child.
  • Never leave your child unattended in a car.
  • Never leave matches in your car.
  • Make sure that children's fingers can't reach electric windows, sunroofs or cigar lighters.
  • Check that other passengers and heavy loads are securely restrained. Nothing should be placed on the back shelf because in a collision it could be thrown around and injure passengers. 
  • If carrying animals ensure they are behind a guard or are wearing a harness specially designed to restrain them in a vehicle.   

 

Bedford Borough Council Road Safety Team      

 telephone (01234) 228336

Email road.safety@bedford.gov.uk

 


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