How to Drive Safely on Rural Roads

How to Drive Safely on Rural Roads

Whether you live in the country or want to experience the beautiful countryside, driving in rural areas can be dangerous if you are not careful, especially if you’re used to driving in more metropolitan areas. Scotland has some of the most beautiful scenic routes in the UK, and with the boom of ‘staycations’ more and more tourists are flocking to drive the famous North Coast 500. The UK’s National Statistics reported that although in 2020 a majority of causalities occurred on built-up urban roads, the majority of fatalities occurred on rural roads. However, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure you are safe on the road.

1- Be Aware of the Speed Limit

The first thing that is often forgotten when driving out the country is the speed limit. There’s usually little to no sporadic traffic which can often lull drivers into a false sense of security. Rural roads often have higher average speed limits (compared to urban roads) that are sparsely posted so it’s important to make sure you drive below the speed limit. This is because there are often agricultural vehicles, as well as winding roads to be aware of.


2- Road Quality

Roads in the country are often old and somewhat neglected compared to those in the city or suburban areas. It’s important that you drive carefully as these roads can be unpaved, have potholes, and no road markings. Rural roads are also often more sinuous and narrower in nature with blind bends, dips, and other distractions.

3- Use Passing Places

Always make sure you are using caution when passing vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders etc. on the road. Rural areas often have long stretches of one-track road that have small laybys for slower vehicles to use, so faster ones can pass safely.

4- Watch for Hidden Driveways

Rural areas often have scattered residences, farms, and villages. When driving on countryside roads, watch for hidden driveways that could contain hidden vehicles waiting to come out onto the road. These driveways are often hidden by hedges, fencing, or even curving roads or hills.

5- Be Aware of Agricultural Vehicles

Tractors, ATVs (all-terrain vehicles), residential cars are often found on rural roads. Remember that often these vehicles, like tractors, often travel well below the speed limit as they may have limited visibility. Always make sure that you keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, especially if you are wanting to make a manoeuvre like overtaking safely.

6- Look Out for Livestock

In the countryside, it won’t look out of place to see livestock being moved across rural roads from one field to another. There should be road signs marking these areas and warning drivers to slow down and use caution. Make sure you take corners slowly, and if you do happen to come across livestock being moved from one side of the road to another, make sure you stop leaving plenty of room between you and the animals. It’s important you wait patiently and avoid revving your engine or honking your horn to not spook the animals. You should also remain in your vehicle until it is safe to continue driving.

7- Visibility

Country roads often have fewer streetlights than cities or suburban areas. Expect darker conditions when driving at night. As well remembering to put your lights on, consider putting them on high beam to increase your visibility. You should also be cautious of residents out for walks or a run that may not be wearing hi-vis clothing, and even animals that may be on the road.

Taking a drive in the country can be a wonderful experience as you enjoy the vistas, fields, and country houses. It’s important to remember that rural roads are not used to get places faster, they are often used as scenic routes, so make sure you pay attention to your surroundings are respect the people and animals that inhabit the area.

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitor and Injury Lawyers Scotland today.

How to Get Your Bike Ready for Spring

How to Get Your Bike Ready for Spring

Most bike users have had their bikes locked away in the shed or the garage over these cold winter months. Now that the first signs of spring are showing and the blue skies are starting to peak out, you may feel like it’s a good time to finally fish it out. However, when bikes are out of use for a while, certain parts can become loose or worn out, and this can cause discomfort to you as a rider and in the worst-case scenario, can result in an accident. Read our new blog on how to get your bike ready for spring to make sure your bike is in perfect shape before you begin your new season riding.

Check Your Tyre Pressure

One of the most important things to check this spring is your tyre pressure. Tyres loose air pressure over time so naturally will have with time in storage. Your bike’s manufacture guide should recommend what the correct tyre pressure is for your bike, and Cycle Guard recommend that you use either a floor pump or an electric bike pump to get it back to the right level.

Adjust the Derailleurs and Shifters

Your derailleurs are in charge of ensuring that your gears shift smoothly. If it has been a long time since you last rode your bike, your derailleur may need adjusting. This is pretty easy to check, simply hang your bike upside down using a bike stand and spin the bike pedals to run through the gears to check that they shift right. Any potential adjustments can be made using a Philips-head screwdriver.

Check Your Brake Levers

Your bike’s breaks not working properly is probably one of the quickest ways to get into an accident, so it is important that your breaks are working properly. Check your brake levers to see if they engage with the brake pads correctly, your brakes shouldn’t get stuck and should bring the wheel to a full stop when riding. Any adjustments that need to be made can be done so by unscrewing the barrel adjuster slightly.

Check Your Brake Pads

It is just as important to check your brake pads as it is to check your brake levers, they should not look worn or be loose at all. Replace your brake pads if they are worn before starting your spring ventures and similarly, you can adjust the brake cables with a screwdriver if the brake pads are not close enough to the rim.

Check the Spokes

Your spokes are supposed to ensure that your wheel stay straight. If your wheels don’t appear straight you need to tighten your spokes using a spoke wrench, but make sure that you do not overtighten as this can create too much tension resulting in cracks or deformities in the rim.

Check Your Bike Chain

Over time a bike chain can become loose and there is a risk that it could fall off your bike whilst you are riding, potentially causing serious injury. To check if your bike chain has become loose over time, check the chain tension by pressing your fingers against the top of the chain, it should not be more than a couple of centimetres. If it is, then you should get your bike chain replaced.

Check Safety Gear

Your safety gear includes your bikes light and reflectors, it is extremely important to check that these still work as they can reduce the chances of you being involved in an accident whilst riding. Additionally, in the UK, after sunset it is illegal to ride your bike on a public road without bike lights.

Apply Dry Lubricant

If your bike has been in storage for a while, the moving parts of your crankset may not be working in the right way. These parts include your bike’s chainring, chain and cog. Popular Mechanics advise that this can easily be fixed by applying some dry lubricant if they do not move properly

Adjust the Bike Seat

If your bike hasn’t been in use for a long period of time, your bike seat may become loose this will likely cause you great discomfort. Be sure to tighten your seat before you set off riding again. Similarly, if your bike seat has become worn it is a good idea to replace it to avoid the same issues.

Secure the Child Seat

This does not apply to all bike riders but if you have a child seat attached to your bike it is just as important to check it as it is to check your bike seat before you set off this spring. Similarly, if the seat seems damaged or worn it would be a good idea to get it replaced before riding.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a bike accident, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.

Working at Height The Steps Your Employer Should be Taking to Keep You Safe

Working at Height: The Steps Your Employer Should be Taking to Keep You Safe

Employers have a responsibility for the health and safety of their employees and there are a range of laws and regulations on hazards that employers must follow to keep you safe in the workplace. Employers must maintain their employee’s welfare and ensure that they are effectively controlling any risks to injury or health that could arise in the workplace. The main laws and regulations surrounding workplace safety in the UK are the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation 1999, which set out the general duties which employers have to employees regarding their safety.

In our latest blog, we’ll outline the steps employers should be taking to keep their employees safe if and when they are required to work at a height.

There are specific Work at Height Regulations 2005 which set out in some detail the obligations on employers.

Risk Assessments

The most important step your employer should be taking to keep you safe are workplace risk assessments. Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation 1999, at a minimum employers must: identify what could cause injury or illness in the workplace (hazards), decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk) and take action to eliminate the hazard, or if not possible, at least control the risk. After identifying these factors, your employer must then make arrangements for implementing the health and safety measures identified as necessary by the risk assessment.

Appointing Health and Safety Coordinator

An employer must appoint a competent person or people to help them implement the arrangements identified through the risk assessment and help the employer meet their health and safety legal duties. Such individual(s) must have knowledge and experience that would allow them to be able to recognise any potential hazards in the company.

Providing Information and Training

All employees must be informed of how to work safely and without risk to their health. Employees must be given clear instructions and information as well as sufficient training to ensure workplace safety. Additionally, the law says that every business must have a policy for managing health and safety which sets out the workplace’s general approach to health and safety and explains how the employer will manage health and safety in the company, who does what, when and how. This must be accessible to all employees.

First Aid and Emergency Procedures

Employers must be able to ensure that employees are able to get immediate help if taken ill or injured at work. Measures that employers should take to ensure this include having a suitably stocked first aid kit, an appointed person or people to take charge of first aid arrangements, and information for all employees telling them about first aid arrangements. Similarly, employers should set up emergency procedures to be taken in the event of an injury or accident such as workplace safety routes and quick access to emergency services.

The Regulations

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 outline in detail the obligations on employers should their employees work at a height. However, employees should avoid working from height if possible. If it is not, employers should take the necessary steps to prevent anyone falling from a height and prevent anyone from being injured from a fall or falling object. Because of this, if you have suffered a fall from height at work, there is a good chance you will be able to claim compensation.

If you or a loved one need advice on filing a claim for a violation of workplace safety, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitor today.

The Impact of Daylight Saving on Road Accidents

The Impact of Daylight Saving on Road Accidents

Introduced during the first world war to increase productivity, daylight saving time also known as DST has continued to be used today. However, there has been debates on how useful it really is and the concerns for the hazards it facilitates for road users has only risen. In theory, losing one hour sleep may not seem significant, however in actuality the change it causes in our routine has been proven to cause mood disorders, effect mental acuity and can have negative effects on our health which can all lead to motor vehicle collisions. An individual who is suffering with exhaustion on the road is a danger, however when an entire population is affected the risks of road accidents only increases when the clocks go forward from standard time.


What are the Dangers of Daylight Saving Time?

Studies have shown that there is a 6.3% increase in fatal crashes in the six days following the daylight-saving time (DST) change. The stress that our bodies go under during time changes not only leads to road accidents due to exhaustion but can lead to serious health issues and even heart attacks.


Daylight saving time can cause jetlag-like symptoms which only increase with sleep deprivation and can result in drowsy driving which is just as dangerous as drunk driving. When fatigue from time changes occurs, drivers are more at risk of being involved in a serious road collision as they are not able to respond fast enough to pedestrian crossings or road hazards and drivers are even susceptible to falling asleep at the wheel. Studies by ROSPA have found that driver fatigue causes 20% of road accidents and over a quarter of fatal and serious accidents.


Daylight Saving and Drowsy Driving

The number of fatal accidents caused by daylight saving time are rising yearly caused by the effects of drowsy driving. Like drunk driving, drowsy driving can negatively impact how well you can make fast decisions, lead to delayed reaction times, and make it difficult to react and pay attention to road hazards which can have fatal consequences. The sudden change in time can disrupt sleep patterns which leads to a reduction in total sleep time and the overall quality of sleep. Studies by Sleepcycle how to reduce the effect that DST has on sleep and our bodies is to begin adjusting to daylight saving time a few days before it takes effect to maintain a regular sleep pattern for as long as possible.

How to Stay Safe on the Roads During Daylight Saving Time

The safest advice is to avoid driving when you are sleep deprived and take a different form of transport, however this is not always possible.


Some ways to prepare yourselves for daylight saving times and staying safe include:

  • Allowing yourself to ease into earlier bedtimes and earlier waking times, as good sleeping habits are the most important part of a safety plan.


  • Expose yourself to daylight as soon as possible.


  • Avoid using screens which emit blue light before bed as this can affect your natural sleep-and-wake cycle.


  • Refrain from consuming caffeine before bed.


  • Know the warning signs- yawning, excessive blinking, drifting into another lane, and missing an exit are all indicators that fatigue is affecting your ability to drive.


  • If you experience any warning signs of fatigue, then pull over where it is safe and take a short nap or a brisk walk which has been proven to help wake you up.

By thinking and planning for daylight saving time you can avoid the possibility of being involved in an accident at work or on the road.


What do I do if I am Involved in a Road Traffic Accident?

We completely understand how distressing it is to be involved in a road traffic accident. Just try your best to stay calm and remember as many details as you can, as these can help to support your claim if you weren’t at fault. Try to record the following:

  • Names, addresses and contact details of all drivers involved
  • Vehicle registration details for all vehicles involved
  • Accident date and time
  • Accident location
  • Full contact details of any witnesses

Most importantly of course, if necessary, seek medical attention as soon as possible and report to your GP following any hospital admissions. And remember to always report the accident to the police.


If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.


, e-scooters, e-scooter law scotland

To Scoot or Not to Scoot: E-scooters in Scotland

An E-scooter is a stand-up scooter powered by an electric motor, they have become increasingly popular in recent years all over the UK including Scotland however, the Daily Record highlights that there were 460 accidents involving e-scooters in Britain in 2020. Many people are unclear about the rules surrounding e-scooters in Scotland, so in this blog we’ll explain e-scooter laws and what to do if you are involved in an e-scooter accident.


What the laws are surrounding e-scooters in Scotland?

E-scooters are classed as a motor vehicle which is defined in the Road Traffic Act 1988 as “any mechanically propelled vehicle intended or adapted for use on roads.” urges that although e-scooters are legal to buy, they are only legal to be used on private land with the prior agreement of the landowner. They are illegal to use in public places such as pavements, footpaths, cycle lanes, cycle tracks, roads, bridleways, restricted byways, car parks, public squares, industrial estates, university campuses, parks, town centres, promenades etc. Any person who uses an e-scooter on a public road or other prohibited space in breach of the law is committing a criminal offence and can be liable to prosecution.


What happens if I purchase e-scooter?

E-scooters are legal to purchase but illegal to use in public spaces. Penalties depend on the nature and gravity of the offence and sentences range from fines and penalty points to disqualification from driving, if used under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs imprisonment may be involved, and offences related to the standard of driving and speeding also apply.


Do I need a license for an e-scooter?

Police Scotland state that as e-scooters have the same status as motor vehicles this means that they require insurance, conformity with technical standards and standards of use, payment of vehicle tax, licensing and registration, driver testing and licensing and the use of relevant safety equipment, to be used on public roads. All these factors are extremely difficult to comply with so many e-scooter users refrain from using them in public places. The only e-scooters legally permitted to use the roads are those that are part of the rental scheme approved by the UK Government’s Department for Transport.


What happens if I’m in an accident involving an e-scooter?

Most e-scooters are uninsured. If you are injured by an uninsured e-scooter, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) which handles claims where the defendant or rider is either uninsured or cannot be traced, will generally compensate the victim even without policy or insurance. If you are in an accident involving an insured e-scooter you may be entitled to compensation directly from them/their insurance. It is also worth noting that that the accident still has to be the fault of the e-scooter rider for you to receive compensation.


What happens if I am riding one and cause an accident?

If you have injured someone whilst riding an e-scooter the Motor Insurers’ Bureau is likely to pursue you for the compensation that they provide to the victim. Similarly, if you are insured and injure someone, your insurance may cover their compensation. However, if whilst you are riding an e-scooter and you are involved in an accident which was not your fault you may still be entitled to compensation.


If you or someone you know have been in an accident involving an e-scooter, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.