How to stay safe on the road this Easter

Millions of motorists are expected to hit the roads this Easter.
But whether you are visiting relatives or heading on off a family getaway, it’s important to take steps to keep you and your precious passengers safe. That’s why we’ve come up with some top tips to make your car journeys this weekend as safe and painless as possible.

Stick to speed limits INCLUDING reduced ones

Roadworks can be a big problem at peak travel times such as the Easter bank holiday weekend. Simon Sheldon-Wilson at Highways England said: “We’ve worked closely with other transport providers to ensure our network can cope with increased demand, and we’re pleased to say that 96.8% of our roads will be free of work to help Easter road trips go smoothly.” Hmmm. Fingers crossed on that one. And even if works are completed or suspended, there will still be speed restrictions on some sections of road across the country, though. And drivers need to respect these, as well as the general speed limits in place to avoid endangering themselves and other road users.

Read this and avoid the travel snarl-ups this Easter.

DON’T stop on the hard shoulder unless you HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE

Stopping on the hard shoulder might seem like a good idea if you need to make a phone call or someone in the car feels sick. But choosing to pull over even just for a minute could prove to be the worst decision you ever made. Non-emergency use of the hard shoulder can land you with a fine of £100, plus three penalty points on your driving licence. Worse still, it often leads to horrible crashes and untimely deaths. Research conducted in 2013 by breakdown organisation Survive revealed that more than 800 people are killed or injured on motorway hard shoulders every year. And separate figures indicate that the average time it takes for a car on the hard shoulder to be involved in a collision is just 15 to 20 minutes. That’s why the AA is warning Easter drivers to only stop on the hard shoulder if there really is no other option. Mark Spowage at the AA said: “It’s best to try to drive to a safer place off the motorway rather than stopping on the hard shoulder, even in the event of a breakdown.”
Freeway Jam

Hard shoulder tactics

- Stop as far to the left as possible with your wheels turned to the left - Leave your sidelights and hazard warning lights on - Get everyone out of the vehicle by the left-hand door and away from the road - Do not attempt to place a red triangle behind the car – is just too dangerous - Only call for help once everyone is safely out of the car and away from the road, preferably up a banking or behind a barrier.

AVOID traffic hotspots and dangerous weather conditions

Bank holiday weekends in the UK are infamous for traffic jams. But with a bit of forward planning, you can hit the main trouble spots at less busy times and avoid hazardous weather such as driving rain and high winds. To help you choose the right route, Highways England has published a list of hotspots, such as the M4 eastbound from junction four to one and the M6 northbound from junction 15 to 16, that are likely to get congested.

CHECK your vehicle is roadworthy

The chances of breaking down and having to stop in a dangerous spot are greatly increased if you fail to check that your car is in good condition before embarking on an Easter journey. So, say there’s a weird noise coming from your engine, you could save yourself a lot of trouble – not to mention cash – by getting it sorted now. You should also check the oil and water levels before setting off on a long journey. And don’t forget to check the air pressure in your tyres is at the level recommended by the manufacturer too.

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