Belt up this Bank Holiday

Brake, the road safety charity, in partnership with Direct Line, has release figures that shows nearly four in ten drivers will set off on long journeys this Bank Holiday without checking their tyre pressure or their lights/indicators. One in four fail to check their oil and water or washers and wipers. The 1,000-driver survey noted that:

One in five will not check passengers are belted up. Incredibly, one in 20 never check.
(Seatbelts saved more than 50million lives since introduced in 1983. You are twice as likely to die in a crash if not wearing a seatbelt. Unbelted rear passengers kill 15 front passengers every year.)

Almost one in three never check passengers’ head restraints. Four in ten don’t know the right position.
(The top level should be level with the top of the head. Whiplash can cause pain, permanent disability and even death.)

More than one in seven admit to driving with a child passenger not in an appropriate child car seat.
(Children under 135cm should be strapped into child restraint perfect for their size and weight).

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, said:

“Getting ready to set off on holiday or another long journey can be stressful, but drivers need to remember that their number one priority is making sure they and their passengers arrive safely. It only takes a tiny problem with your vehicle to turn a family trip into a tragedy. If you’re rushing to get off on holiday, or on any journey, please take the time to conduct simple checks that could prevent a devastating crash. It only takes a few minutes to check your vehicle is safe, and everyone is properly restrained, but it could mean the difference between life and death.”

Andy Goldby, Director of Motor Underwriting and Pricing at Direct Line, added:

“It is important to ensure your car is in a roadworthy condition. By ensuring you undertake simple checks you can minimise the risk of a crash or breakdown and there are benefits to your pocket as well, as ensuring your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure will reduce your vehicle’s fuel consumption. Even if your car is in a fit state to travel it is essential to ensure you and your passengers are too. Seatbelts, the correct size child car seats and head restraints in the right position can all help prevent and reduce the severity of an injury. Quick simple checks before you start your journey can make a difference to when and if you get to your destination.”

Women are less likely than men to give their car a pre-journey check-up and, unsurprisingly, younger drivers are more prone to set off footloose and fancy-free than their more cost and safety-conscious elder statesmen.

Last year, 39 people were killed and another 2,178 were injured, some seriously, because of crashes where vehicle defects were a factor. If you’re going on a long journey, make sure you check your car from top to bottom. 15 minutes could save you a lifetime of hurt.

By the way, tyres should have a tread depth of at least 3mm, be crack-free, buckle-free and bulge-free.

About Brake

Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 66 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (21-27 November 2011), and a Fleet Safety Forum scheme, providing advice to companies. Brake’s support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.

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