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Staying Safe on London’s Roads: Essential Defensive Driving Techniques
Driving is an essential part of daily life in London, but it can also be a dangerous activity. With around 160,000 reported road accidents resulting in injuries or fatalities each year in the UK (1), it’s important to practice defensive driving techniques to reduce the risk of accidents and stay safe on the road.
This article will focus on defensive driving techniques specifically for London’s busy roads, including the MSPSL, LADA, and OUT routines, as well as statistics highlighting the impact of defensive driving on road safety.
Defensive Driving Techniques
In London’s busy roads, defensive driving techniques are crucial for staying safe and avoiding accidents. One of the key techniques is the MSPSL routine, which stands for Mirrors, Signal, Position, Speed, and Look.
This technique provides a structured approach to driving that helps drivers deal with hazards on the road. By checking their mirrors, signalling their intention to other road users, positioning their vehicle correctly, adjusting their speed to match the road conditions, and looking for potential hazards, drivers can anticipate potential hazards and take appropriate action to avoid them.
Another important technique for defensive driving on London roads is the LADA routine, which stands for Look, Assess, Decide, and Act.
This technique helps drivers to avoid presuming knowledge of other road users and to stay focused on the road. By looking for potential hazards, assessing the situation, deciding on a course of action, and acting accordingly, drivers can stay alert and focused on the road and avoid making assumptions about the behaviour of other road users.
The OUT routine is also a key defensive driving technique for London’s roads. The OUT routine (Over, Under and Through) involves looking over for heads, through the windows of cars for bodies, and under vehicles for feet, in order to identify potential hazards that may be obscured by other vehicles. In busy areas like junctions or heavy traffic, the OUT routine is particularly important for identifying potential hazards and taking appropriate action to avoid them.
By incorporating these defensive driving techniques into their driving practices, drivers can reduce the risk of accidents and stay safe on London’s busy roads.
Statistics on Defensive Driving
Defensive driving is not only important for staying safe on the road but can also have a significant impact on road safety as a whole. Implementing effective road safety measures, including defensive driving techniques, could reduce the number of road accidents resulting in death or serious injury by up to 40% (2). Additionally, road accidents cost the UK economy an estimated £35 billion per year (3).
In London, a study conducted by the London Assembly Transport Committee found that in 2019, there were 125 road deaths and over 26,000 reported road traffic accidents (4). These figures highlight the need for defensive driving techniques in London’s busy and complex road network.
Common Hazardous Situations
There are many hazardous situations that drivers may encounter on the road, and defensive driving techniques can help drivers to stay safe in these situations.
For example, driving in heavy traffic can be particularly challenging for drivers, but by maintaining a safe following distance, scanning the road ahead for potential hazards, and avoiding sudden manoeuvres, drivers can reduce the risk of accidents.
According to the Department for Transport, heavy traffic is a contributing factor in around 15% of all road accidents in the UK (1).
Driving in adverse weather conditions, such as rain or snow, can also be hazardous for drivers. However, by adjusting their driving speed and position to match the conditions on the road, using appropriate lighting and signalling, and maintaining a safe following distance, drivers can reduce the risk of accidents. According to the Department for Transport, adverse weather conditions are a contributing factor in around 5% of all road accidents in the UK (1).
Finally, driving in urban areas can present a range of hazards, including navigating complex road layouts, dealing with heavy traffic, and encountering vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. However, by practicing defensive driving techniques such as scanning the road ahead, anticipating the actions of other road users, and being patient and cautious, drivers can reduce the risk of accidents. According to the Department for Transport, urban areas are a contributing factor in around 20% of all road accidents in the UK (1).
In conclusion, defensive driving is an essential set of skills for staying safe on the road. By practicing defensive driving techniques such as the MSPSL, LADA, and OUT routines, drivers can anticipate potential hazards, stay alert and focused, and avoid accidents. Statistics show that defensive driving can have a significant impact on road safety and the economy, and it’s important for drivers to continuously improve and develop their defensive driving skills.
Whether driving in heavy traffic, adverse weather conditions, or urban areas, defensive driving techniques can help drivers stay safe and confident on the road. By following the MSPSL, LADA, and OUT routines, staying patient and cautious, and being aware of the rules and regulations that apply to driving in the UK, drivers can reduce the risk of accidents and ensure the safety of all road users.
- Department for Transport. Reported road casualties in Great Britain: annual report. 2020. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/reported-road-casualties-in-great-britain-annual-report-2020
- Road Safety Foundation. European Road Safety Atlas. 2019. https://www.roadsafetyfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/European-Road-Safety-Atlas-2019.pdf
- Department for Transport. The economic cost of road crashes. 2019. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/861414/economic-cost-of-road-crashes-2019.pdf
- London Assembly Transport Committee. London’s Road Safety Crisis: Time for Action. 2019. https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/transport_committee_-_road_safety_report_2019.pdf