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Road safety advice

Safer Roads Humber want all road users to be safe on the region's roads. 

The majority of advice in this section has been taken from the Think! road safety website and we acknowledge any copyright.

Drink driving 

There is no excuse for drink driving. Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to judge speed and distance and slows down reaction times.

The effects can include:

  • Slower reactions
  • Increased stopping distance
  • Poor judgement of speed and distance
  • Reduced field of vision

Alcohol also tends to make you feel over-confident and more likely to take risks when driving, which increases the danger to all road users, including yourself. If you drive at twice the current legal alcohol* limit, you are at least 50 times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash compared to a driver who has not been drinking. There is no failsafe guide as to how to stay beneath the legal alcohol limit or how much you can drink and still drive safely.

*The legal alcohol limit for driving in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. For Scotland the limit is 50 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.

It depends on:

  • Your weight, sex, age, metabolism
  • Stress levels
  • An empty stomach
  • The amount and type of alcohol

The only safe option is not to drink if you plan to drive. Never offer a drink to someone else who is driving.

If you plan to drink, don't risk driving:

  • Book a taxi
  • Use public transport
  • Stay overnight
  • Arrange for someone who is not drinking to drive
  • Don't be tempted to get into a car with anyone else who has been drinking

You don't have to be in a crash to be breathtested. The police can ask you to take a breath test if they suspect you have been drinking, or if you commit a traffic offence.

If you are convicted of drink driving you will:

  • Lose your licence for 12 months (which could mean you lose your job);
  • Face a maximum fine of £5,000;
  • Face up to six months in prison; and
  • Pay up to three times as much for car insurance.

The morning after

If you have been out drinking, you may still be affected by alcohol the next day. Even though you may feel OK when you get up, you may still be over the legal alcohol limit or unfit to drive, and could still lose your licence.

It is impossible to get rid of alcohol any faster. A shower, cup of coffee or other ways of 'sobering up' will not help. It just takes time. Visit Morning After for further information.

Drug driving 

Around 18% of people killed in road crashes have traces of illegal drugs in their blood, with cannabis being the most common.

Drugs can affect a driver's behaviour in a number of different ways, which include slower reaction time and poor concentration. The effects can last for hours or even days. Driving under the influence of drugs - whether prescribed medication or illegal substances - is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. It is also against the law.

Here are just a few ways that drugs can affect your driving, which means that you aren't able to drive safely:

  • Slower reaction times
  • Poor concentration
  • Confused thinking
  • Over confidence, so you take unnecessary risks
  • Impaired co-ordination
  • Erratic behaviour
  • Hallucinations
  • Blurred vision/enlarged pupils
  • Panic attacks and paranoia
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness

The police can carry out roadside swab tests to help them decide whether to arrest you if they think you are unfit to drive through drugs. The penalties are the same as for drink driving. You could face a minimum one-year driving ban, a fine of up to £5,000 and six months imprisonment.

If you need further information and advice about the effects of drugs, visit the Talk to Frank website.

Mobile phones 

It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone when you are driving, even when you have stopped at traffic lights or are in a queue of traffic.

In 2017, new legalisation came into force which increased the fine from £100 to £200, with six points being added to your driver's licence. If you get six points within two years of passing your test, your licence will be revoked and you will have to re-sit your test.

The law includes making or receiving calls, pictures, text messaging or accessing the internet. To use your device, you must pull over to a safe location and switch off the engine. You can also be prosecuted for using a hands-free mobile phone if you fail to have proper control of your vehicle. The only exceptions to the rule are when you need to call 999 or 112 in response to a genuine emergency. Two-way radios are not covered by this offence, but other devices for sending or receiving data are included if they are held while driving i.e. a PDA, Blackberry or similar device.

Don't Drive Tired 

One in five road accidents on motorways and other monotonous roads are caused by someone falling asleep at the wheel, mostly involving running off the road or into the back of another vehicle. Sleep-related crashes are particularly dangerous and likely to result in serious injury because the driver won't have woken in time to brake before impact.

You may find yourself fighting sleep in a warm car by winding down the window or turning up the radio, but you might still nod off for a couple of seconds. If you are doing 70mph on a motorway, you will have travelled an eighth of a mile in that time.

Body clock

Your body clock winds down at certain times, so driving between midnight and 6am, or 2pm to 4pm is particularly risky. Men under 30 are most likely to fall asleep at the wheel, especially in the early hours of the morning. Motorists need to be aware of the risks of driving for too long or when they are tired and should plan their journey so they don't reach that stage.

Top Tips

  • Plan your journey to include a 15-minute break every two hours.
  • Find a safe place to stop if you feel drowsy - not the hard shoulder.
  • Drink two cups of coffee or a high-caffeine drink, then take a short nap to allow the caffeine to kick in.
  • Don't start a long trip if you are already tired.
  • Remember the risks if you have to get up unusually early to start a long drive.
  • Try to avoid long trips between midnight and 6am when you are likely to feel sleepy anyway.

Seatbelts and car seats 

For your own and others' safety, the law requires you to use a seatbelt if one is fitted.

Seatbelt wearing in the front seat saves over 2,200 lives every year. Everyone knows they should wear a seatbelt in the front seat, but many people still don't realise how dangerous it is not to wear a seatbelt in the back. In a crash at 30mph, if you are unrestrained, you will hit the front seat, and anyone in it, with a force of between 30 and 60 times your own body weight.

Such an impact could result in death or serious injury to both yourself and front seat occupants. Any award for damages following an accident may be reduced if you were not wearing a seatbelt.

For further information about seatbelts and car seats, please visit Good Egg Car Safety.

Speed limits 

The speed limit for any road is the maximum speed a vehicle should be travelling at. You should always drive safely and appropriately within the speed limit at all times.

30mph zones

All urban roads in this country are subject to a 30mph speed limit unless there are signs to tell you a higher or lower limit applies. If you cannot see a sign on an urban road, you must always assume that the speed limit is 30mph. If there are streetlights along the road, again the speed limit is usually 30mph unless signs tell you differently. Visit the Department for Transport website for further information.

Table of speed limits
  Built up area Single Carriageway Dual Carriageway Motorway
Cars and motorcycles 30 60 70 70
Cars towing caravans or trailers 30 50 60 60
Buses or coaches 30 50 60 70
Goods vehicles <7.5tonnes 30 50 60 60*
Goods vehicles >7.5 tonnes 30 50 60 60
*If not articulated or towing the maximum speed is 70mph