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It is a well-known fact that driver error is one of the biggest killers on the road. Thousands of lives could be saved every year if every driver abided by the following rules. Having full awareness of your surroundings, maintaining control of your vehicle and avoiding distractions are crucial if you are to be safe on the road.

Always have full awareness of your surroundings – Never drive whilst drowsy

You’ve seen the signs on the motorway, tiredness can kill. If you begin to feel yourself slipping into a drowsy state whilst driving, don’t continue to drive. It can be tempting to push through to try to get to your destination but no amount of loud music or open windows will guarantee to keep you awake. 20% of road accidents are caused by drivers being out on the road whilst they are tired. All it takes is to drift into sleep for a split second and before you know it, you have hit another car.

If you find yourself feeling sleepy behind the wheel, take a break immediately. If you are on the motorway, don’t stop on the hard shoulder, stop at the next junction. Buy a couple of coffees or a caffeine drink and wait for it to kick in before going back out on the road. Take a break from driving at least once every two hours, whether you are tired or not.

Maintaining control of your vehicle – Stick to speed limits

Speed limits are in place for a reason, it is as simple as that. No matter how frustrating the speed limit may be, stick to it. Driving just a few miles per hour over the limit can mean the difference between life and death. Driving at the correct speed provides you with adequate time to stop and reduces your chance of causing a fatal accident.

Speed limits are 30 or less around residential areas because there are more pedestrians in the vicinity. Hitting a pedestrian at 40 miles per hour makes you four times as likely to kill that pedestrian compared to driving at 30 miles per hour.

Many drivers have a lax attitude to speed limits on quiet, rural roads. They mistakenly believe that there are less vehicles, so less risk. This is not the case. Rural roads include a lot of blind bends and animals crossing the road. Travelling at a ridiculous speed limits your chance of effectively preparing for hazards.

Avoiding distractions – Never use your mobile at the wheel

Under no circumstances should you use your mobile phone whilst driving. It can be incredibly distracting and cause serious accidents. Research indicates that drivers who use a mobile phone behind the wheel have half the reaction time of a driver who is not using a phone.

If you must answer your phone, pull up at the next available opportunity and then call the person back. If you ever call someone and realise they are driving, ask them to call you back and hang up.

Rick Stanyon is a renowned author of all things car related. Rick often visits www.goldautocontracts.com to get the latest information on car leasing.