12 days of safety

this Christmas

ROAD safety organisation Gem Motoring Assist has come up with a dozen driving tips to keep motorists safe during the 12 days of Christmas.

The advice follows recent figures which revealed that on average drink-driving claims more than 200 lives a year on our roads.

Experts at GEM say the best way to keep safe is to never drink alcohol if you need to drive - and don't use your phone when at the wheel.

The tips for seasonal safety are:

1. Take a taxi home from Christmas parties. Don't drive if you're having a drink. And don't drink any alcohol if you need to drive.

2. Always wear your seatbelt. It's the most effective way to save your life and reduce injuries if you're involved in a crash.

3. Keep children safe through Christmas. Make sure their seatbelts and restraints are correctly fitted in the car - and always used. Ensure they're easy to see if they're walking.

4. If you're picking up a Christmas tree, make sure it's securely tied down before you drive home. Also, don't let a big bushy tree obscure your all-round vision.

5. Slow down. No one else can tell you how fast to drive. It's your responsibility, so don't be selfish. Stay safe, give yourself time and space to stop.

6. Don't drive tired. Fatigued drivers take longer to react to hazards. Take breaks on journeys. Share the driving.

7. Be ready to stay out of the driving seat if you're using medicines that make you drowsy. You don't have to be on illegal drugs to be unfit. Medicines can impair you too.

8. Check your tyre tread and pressure before Christmas journeys. Every safety system on your car depends on your tyres working effectively in an emergency. Tyres can save your life, so take no risks and check them.

9. If you had a few drinks last night, you could still be over the limit the next morning. Time is your only way to be alcohol free.

10. Don't allow yourself to become distracted on Christmas journeys. No phoning, no texting, no fiddling with sat nav. And encourage the children to do their bit for safety, by letting you focus on the driving.

11. Put safety first and expect to think for others who are less aware of risk. Watch out for kids on new bikes, make allowances for drunk pedestrians.

12. Had a new mobile phone for Christmas? Don't use it when you're driving. Focus solely on the journey and reduce your risks.

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