Every year, our motivation increases after Christmas and we spend the New Year planning our goals, such as getting fitter or eating more healthily, but many gym memberships feels unloved by February. Richard Gladman (IAM Roadsmart’s head of driving and riding standards), suggests a few New Year Resolutions that are easy to keep and will improve your driving and keep you safe throughout the year:
- New year, new car. Think about the effect your car can have on the environment. Those short trips have the biggest impact so look into alternatives. If you are looking to get a new car, make sure you research its emissions and road tax costs. Choose one with the latest safety kit such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) because we all need a guardian angel at times.
- Eyesight: The NHS suggests having an eye test every two years. It is your responsibility to ensure you’re fit to drive. Getting your eyes tested regularly will also show up any concerns at an early stage. You can check your vision yourself – can you read a number plate clearly from 20 metres?
- Weather: Heed weather warnings all year around. If the weather is really bad, consider postponing your journey until a more appropriate time, or plan another method of transport if possible.
- Year-round maintenance: Clean your windows, lights, mirrors and number plates regularly. You should spend around 10 minutes every week checking your vehicle’s fluid levels, tyre pressure, lights, tread depth and windscreen wipers.
- Eco-driving: A planned drive is an economical drive. Having a good sense of your vehicle’s power and gears will save fuel, and makes it safer to drive. There is no point in racing up to a red traffic light!
- Anticipate: Consider what the traffic and other people around you may do, especially at traffic lights, roundabouts and junctions. Observing, anticipating and planning should be at the heart of your driving.
- Refuel: Be sure to keep an eye on your tank, especially when embarking upon long journeys. Refuelling early saves you the stress of trying to find a petrol station in an area you don’t know. Running out of fuel causes hundreds of motorway breakdowns every year.
Richard says: “The New year is a common time for people to reflect and evaluate their goals for the upcoming year. Why not begin by incorporating your driving behaviour into your list of resolutions for 2018? Why not resolve to make it better this year?”