Posts

New Driver Here's our Top Tips to Staying Safe on the Roads

New Driver? Here’s our Top Tips to Staying Safe on the Roads

Both driving lessons and driving tests have been undeniably affected by COVID-19 over the last 18 months however, with restrictions lifting over the summer in Scotland and throughout the UK, they have thankfully been allowed to re-start. As an unfortunate result, it has been reported by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) that there is a significant backlog with many test centres fully booked through till December 2021.

For those who’ve been lucky enough to secure a slot and have recently gained their driver’s license, or for those who have perhaps passed at some time in the last 18 months and haven’t had much driving experience since we understand that journeys as a new driver can be nerve-wracking. Especially if it’s your first time in the car without an instructor or another driver.

Brake, the road safety charity, recently reported that road traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death amongst young people, and the main cause of death among those aged 15–29 years. As such, it’s vital that new drivers know the steps they can take to stay safe on the roads, and what their options are for compensation claims if they are injured in an accident that wasn’t their fault.

At Bonnar Accident Law we have significant experience handling road accident claims so get in touch today if you have any questions or keep reading for our top tips on how new drivers can feel at ease on the roads.  

The Risks to New Drivers

  • Driving at Night

In 2019, 37% of young driver fatalities and serious injuries occurred in the nine-hour period between 9 pm and 6 am, despite roads being relatively quiet during this period. Nighttime driving can be considered particularly risky for all drivers, no matter their age or level of confidence, due to the lack of light, decreased visibility of hazards and likelihood of drivers being more tired with diminished concentration levels. However, it’s deemed to be even risker for young new drivers as they may be more likely to take risks from peer pressure, to drive under the influence or to be distracted by passengers who are intoxicated.

  • Over-Confidence and Speeding

There’s a fine line when driving between confidence and arrogance, and it’s natural for young drivers to feel they have mastered the ability to drive once they’ve passed their test and have gained more driving experience. However, over-confidence can be a recipe for disaster and cause drivers to overestimate their ability to respond to hazards, whilst underestimating the risks associated with factors such as speeding. Excessive speed is a key contributor to road traffic accidents throughout the UK as young drivers often don’t have the experience or know-how to react appropriately to a dangerous situation.

  • Peer Pressure

It goes without saying that young people are subject to peer pressure in many areas of their life, and as a result, may show off to achieve a favourable status amongst their friends. Research has shown that newly qualified drivers with a car full of passengers of a similar age are four times more likely to be in a fatal crash, compared to when they’re driving alone. However, when carrying older adult passengers, young drivers are less likely to crash, which indicates that these accidents are caused by peer pressure rather than simply the presence of passengers.

 

Tips for New Drivers to Stay Safe

  • Plan Ahead for New or Long Journeys

Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time if you’re driving a new route and familiarise yourself with the route beforehand to help build up your confidence. On the day, utilise Sat Nav or GPS devices to help guide you and schedule comfort breaks at least every 2 hours on longer journeys.

  • Be Responsible

If you have passengers in the car with you, treat them as your responsibility and avoid doing anything that would put you, or them, at risk. This includes showing off by driving faster or taking risks, giving into peer pressure and not becoming distracted by your mobile phone or excessively loud music.

  • Keep Calm

If you experience any aggressive behaviour on the roads, the best course of action is to stay calm, maintain a steady speed and avoid any confrontation. If you do give in to road rage and feel shaken at all, pull over at the next safe place to stop and allow yourself time to calm down and gather your thoughts before you continue your journey.

  • Know Your Car

Make sure you know the warning signs on your car and have at least a basic knowledge of car maintenance in case something does go wrong on the road. Emergency car kits including de-icer, jump leads, phone chargers and even a spare tyre can a lifesaver, especially in the winter. And whilst it may seem obvious, keep an eye on your fuel throughout your trip and don’t leave filling up until the last minute.

  • Take Your Time

Don’t feel pressured by other drivers if you are on a road or at a junction you don’t feel sure of. It’s far better to take your time and only go when you feel it’s safe to do so. If you’re driving at night, be extra cautious and avoid the temptation to speed when the roads are quieter. Lastly, as a new driver, you will feel tired quicker as driving takes up a lot of energy and concentration so don’t stress about not getting to your destination quickly and make sure you pull over for a rest break if you start to feel sleepy on the roads.

 

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

We completely understand how distressing being in an accident will be as a new driver. If you’re taking shaken at the time to clearly identify who was at fault, do not admit liability or responsibility, rather just stay calm and try to remember as many details as possible to help support your Road Traffic Accident compensation claim.

It’s important you gather as much information and evidence as you can at the time. This includes the registration, make and model of the vehicle as well as the other name, address, contact details and insurance details of the other driver involved. If it’s possible take videos or photographs of the scene and the contact details of any witnesses. Most importantly, seek medical attention as soon as possible if required and report to your GP following any hospital admissions, and always report the accident to the police.

If you have been injured in a road traffic 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.

Back to School: Road Safety

As children across Scotland get ready for their first day back at school, many parents will be breathing a sigh of relief that their kids will finally be back in the classroom after a tumultuous year, and they can hang up their ‘teacher’ hats after intense periods of homeschooling.

However, whilst we inch closer towards normality and away from the risks of COVID-19, there’s a considerable risk to children that remains ever-present – the risk of road traffic accidents.

The RAC Foundation recently reported that child fatalities from road traffic accidents actually increased in 2020 to 52 reported child casualties, an increase from 49 casualties in 2019. A cause for even more concern is that almost half of all accidents on UK roads take place during the school run. In a study conducted by Admiral, they found that 43% of road traffic accidents throughout the UK occur during 8am and 9am and 5pm and 6pm. The increase of traffic during peak rush hour times, resulting in more stressed drivers on the road, can be a deadly combination for children walking to school especially in urban locations.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we understand the worry that parents will have over their child’s safety. If your child has suffered an injury that wasn’t their fault, you could raise a personal injury claim on their behalf. We have significant experience handling these types of claims and will work tirelessly to obtain your child the highest compensation possible. If you have any questions, get in touch today, or keep reading for our top road safety tips to make the school run that much safer.

 

Walking to School Safety Tips

  • Walk to school with your children until you are confident that they can do so safely by themselves
  • Make sure your children are familiar with the safest route possible, and encourage them to walk with friends so they’re not alone
  • Encourage your children, especially during the darker nights in winter, to wear something bright or fluorescent when walking to or from school, to make sure drivers can see them
  • Advise your children to only use the pedestrian crossings to cross the road and to only walk on the pavements and footpaths
  • Stop Look and Listen – make sure road safety is a conversation with your children and teach them how to crossroads safety and what hazards they should look out for

 

Driving Road Safety Tips

  • Make sure your children are wearing seatbelts and are sat in the appropriate child seat if necessary
  • Keep an eye out for school zone signs and reduce your speed the minute you approach the area surrounding a school
  • Be sure to obey any lollipop men or women who may be helping children cross the road
  • Be hyper vigilant as children may cross the road at an inconvenient time or in an unexpected place, due to a lack of road awareness
  • Reduce your speed, no matter how much of a rush you might be in and be aware of both the speed limit and any speed bumps

 

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

Think Motorbike: Safety on the Road (Part Two)

 

Think Motorbike Safety on the Road

In January, we brought you part one of our Safety on the Road series: Think Bike, which explored the increased risk to cyclists as an increasing number of people take to their bikes as a cost-effective, healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around. In the first part of the series, we provided our top tips for how to stay safe.

This month we are focusing on motorcycle safety. Although motorcyclists only account for 1% of road traffic, they account for a staggering 19% of road users involved in fatal accidents.

Motorbikes are a popular mode of transport for thousands of people across the UK who get great enjoyment from the sense of adventure riding a motorcycle brings, alongside the financial and environmental benefits.

However, motorcyclists are amongst the most vulnerable road users, as in comparison to cyclists, motorcyclists travel at the same high speeds as cars, yet without any of the protective features, a car offers such as seat belts and airbags. As such, it means that if you’re involved in a road traffic accident on a motorcycle, you’re at considerably more risk of serious injury.

In this blog, we’ll explore the steps that motorcyclists can take to stay safe on the roads, as well as the steps other road users can take to play their part in making the roads safer for those who are most vulnerable.

 

Safety Tips for Motorcyclists

 

  • Suit up – the notorious motorcycle leathers are there not just to look stylish, but to protect riders as they can help to prevent serious injury. A DOT-approved helmet is also crucial.
  • Ride defensively by always staying as visible as possible. Make sure you avoid drivers’ blind spots, drive with your headlights on even during the day and wear high visibility clothing.
  • Look out for hazards on the road such as potholes so you can take the appropriate action to avoid these.
  • Avoid cycling in poor weather conditions these can seriously compromise your ride.
  • Obey traffic rules and speed limits, and always make sure to use your turn signals and hand signals.
  • Stay focused, as any lapses in concentration could have serious consequences. Likewise, make sure you aren’t driving impaired.

 

Safety Tips for Drivers

 

  • Look – failure to look is one of the top reasons for road traffic accidents between cars and motorcycles.
  • Pay particular attention to junctions and roundabouts.
  • Take extra care to check for motorcyclists when changing lanes, as a motorcycle may be in the space you’re moving into or be fast approaching it.
  • Leave plenty of space when overtaking a motorcyclist, as much space you would leave a car if not more, as motorcyclists often need to move suddenly to avoid dangers on the road such as potholes.
  • Be aware of Advanced Stop Lines. These allow increased visibility for vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists. You must stop at the first white line if the traffic light is amber or red and when the green light shows, allow the road user time and space to set off
  • The lower your speed, the less risk you are to a motorcyclist. As motorcyclists are more sensitive to changes on the road and can manoeuvre much quicker, if you’re behind or passing a motorcyclist, be sure to do so slowly and carefully.

 

If you do find yourself injured due to a motorcycle accident, you may be due compensation if the accident was caused by the actions of another road user, if the road was in poor condition, or if your injury was due to an equipment failure.

 

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

Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrian Safety

 

Pedestrians are amongst the most vulnerable people on UK roads. Whilst there are many different methods of transportation that we can take advantage of, at one point or another, everyone is a pedestrian. Unfortunately, without the protection of a vehicle, or any safety equipment, pedestrians are vulnerable to serious injury. This can range from minor cuts and bruises to broken bones, to serious life-changing injuries.

 

Tragically, in 2019, pedestrians accounted for 27% of all road traffic accident fatalities in the UK, which was the highest proportion of any group besides car occupants.

 

Behind the statistics, are real people who are struggling with the consequences of being in a pedestrian accident.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we understand that if you or a loved one has been involved in an accident as a pedestrian, you may be facing distressing and uncertain times and might be unsure of what to do next. This blog will guide you through your next steps, as well as our top tips for staying safe as a pedestrian.

 

What to Do If You’re in a Pedestrian Accident?

  • Seek Medical Attention

Of course, the priority is to ensure that you’re out of harm’s way and that the emergency services have been called. Even in the case of minor injuries, it’s important to see your GP after in case your condition worsens.

  • Report the Accident

All road traffic accidents involving injury must be reported to the police and you should obtain a police report/incident number.

  • Take Photographs

If possible, take pictures of the scene of the accident, the surrounding area, and your injuries.

  • Collect Information

Make sure to exchange details with the driver/s involved in the accident, as well as anyone who might have witnessed it.

 

Our Top Tips for Pedestrian Safety

  • Stop, look, listen.
  • Stay alert, don’t be distracted by electronic devices such as your phone that can take your attention off the road.
  • Choose a safe place to cross the road, such as at a pedestrian crossing or traffic lights.
  • Even at a pedestrian crossing, always pause before you step onto the road and check both directions to ensure there is no oncoming traffic.
  • Don’t assume a driver has seen you. Always try where possible to make eye contact before you cross.
  • If there is a footpath, use it. If not, stick to the right-hand side of the road facing oncoming traffic, and keep as close as possible to the side of the road.

 

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

Think Bike: Safety on the Road

Think Bike: Safety on the Road

Think Bike Safety on the Road

Think Bike Safety on the Road

 

The number of people choosing to cycle, whether it be for the health benefits or as a way to get to work, has significantly increased in recent years within the UK – with an astonishing 3.2 billion miles cycled on our roads every year.

Unfortunately, cyclists are also amongst the most vulnerable road users within the UK and there is a serious risk from not only poor road conditions or faulty equipment, but also inattentive drivers.

In fact, when the UK began its first lockdown in 2020, the month of March saw cyclist fatalities double the average for that time of year, with 14 cyclists in Great Britain and one in Northern Ireland victims in road traffic incidents.

While this wasn’t a long-term trend and there are fewer cars on the road, we don’t want the risks of cycling to outweigh its clear benefits which are it is economical, environmentally friendly, and a fun way to get around. So, how can we make sure that cyclists and drivers are looking out for each other and keeping one another safe on the road?

 

Safety Tips for Cyclists

  • Ride decisively and make sure to keep clear of the kerb
  • Wear a correctly fitted cycle helmet
  • Always wear high visibility and reflective clothing, especially after dark
  • Make sure to always use lights after dark or when visibility is poor
  • Avoid riding up the inside of vehicles as you may not be seen
  • Use appropriate hand gestures to signal left/right turn taking
  • Take extra care at junctions and roundabouts, and make sure to give clear timely signals

 

Safety Tips for Drivers

  • Always keep an eye out for cyclists
  • Check for cyclists before pulling out at a junction, when doing a manoeuvre or when changing lanes
  • Take an extra look in your mirrors and blind spots
  • Leave plenty of space when overtaking a cyclist
  • Be aware of Advanced Stop Lines. These allow increased visibility for vulnerable road users such as cyclists. You must stop at the first white line if the traffic light is amber or red and when the green light shows, allow the road user time and space to set off
  • The lower your speed, the less risk you are to a cyclist, so take extra care to drive a little slower in residential areas and areas without cycle lanes

 

If you do find yourself injured due to a cycling accident, you may be due compensation if the accident was caused by the actions of another road user, if the road or cycle lane was in poor condition, or if your injury was due to an equipment failure.

 

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please feel free to get in touch with one of our no win no fee solicitors.