The Beginning

Road Safety firstly comes down to the vehicle condition and is only as good as the person in charge of that specific vehicle. If it doesn’t get looked after, the safety aspect dramatically reduces before you have even got onto the road. How many people regularly check their cars? How many people know what and where to check?

You would be surprised how many people lack the knowledge. I have put together a very brief few words of basic important checks as shown below. The motor industry use the FLOWER checks. Most fleet, emergency services and other company car drivers should do these checks before each shift or journey.I have to daily and document it also. So think to yourself, if they do it daily, just how much risk am I taking by doing it sporadically or not at all. I’m taking my kids out to the them park 100 miles away, but i haven’t checked the tyres for weeks? The Consequences could be catastrophic and is a daunting thought.

On the roadside I see people daily who have had a breakdown through neglect. When I approach the driver and ask, for example when the oil level was last checked? When did you top up the water?  A reply I quite often get back is this “they checked it on the MOT last year”.

This simply isn’t good enough. Do the right thing, check your car, check it weekly. Not only could it perhaps save a life, but it’ll make the car run better.

Road safety covers a large spectrum and raises many questions, some easy to answer and others not. Who is responsible for it? Who cleans up when things go wrong? Who pays for campaigns and what can I do to protect myself, and other road users? I’ve been doing my job as a breakdown patrol for 8 years and will pass on some stories of what I’ve seen on the road and also some tips to stay safe.

The first and most important thing to remember is that each and every one of us has a responsibility for road safety. Car drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians all have a duty of care to other road users. It’s simple really, common sense and a little bit of thought is all that it takes.

Your car!

Your car – to many, a daunting image when the bonnet is lifted. But in fact, as a driver, it really isn’t. You only need to know the essentials – where does engine oil go? Where does coolant go? Where is my washer bottle? It isn’t just under your bonnet that needs checking, walk around your whole car, especially if going on a long journey. It won’t take long and could save serious injury or even a life. Here is a quick but easy way to think about your vehicle checks.

FLOWER

Fuel – don’t leave it until the light comes on to fill up. This will avoid unnecessary breakdown in an unknown, and perhaps dangerous, location.

Lights – check all exterior lights for operation and condition and that lenses are clean.

Oil – oil level should be checked regularly. Leaving it until the red warning light comes on could cause engine damage. On average, manufacturers state a car engine can use 1 litre of oil to 1000 miles. (Check your vehicle handbook on how to check it.)

Water – check coolant level frequently. (Again your handbook will show you how) . If the level is always low, check for leaks. An overheating engine could cause catastrophic damage.

Electrics – your car battery is the heart of your car and if this fails your car won’t start. Old batteries should be changed before it fails. Also, check the cooling fan works to avoid overheating when in traffic.  Leaving the car idling will cause the fan to start working.

Rubber – tyres have a crucial part to play – tread depth, pressures and age are all factors. Handling and fuel consumption can be seriously compromised if tyres are faulty, resulting in accidents and prosecution

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