Safety on the Road

Safety precautions for motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians

Accidents involving motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians are among the leading causes of accidental death and injury in the developed world. In the UK the number of injuries and deaths on the roads has declined in recent years but still remains high: in 2007, more than 247,000 people were injured and nearly 3,000 people were killed on the roads.

Most road traffic accidents in the UK are due to speeding, drink-driving, or the use of illegal drugs. Very few accidents are caused by mechanical faults. Other causes include poor eyesight, tiredness, and taking certain prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

Staying safe in cars

The most important vehicle safety device is the seat belt. Airbags have also saved many lives. Modern cars and lorries have a variety of other built-in safety features, including headrests, specially designed seats for children, and anti-lock brakes.

Staying safe on motorcycles and bicycles

Motorcyclists need helmets and special clothing to protect them from the road surface, other vehicles, and the weather.

Cyclists are particularly at risk of head injuries, so wearing a helmet is essential. Cyclists should also make sure they are easily visible, for example by wearing bright clothing and by putting reflectors on their bicycles.

Staying safe as a pedestrian

Nearly all injuries to pedestrians happen in urban areas. Children aged 5–14 years are most at risk of accidents.

If you plan to go out walking or jogging at night, wear bright clothes and reflectors. Teach children to be alert when out on busy streets.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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