Get Better Driver Habits Post Lockdown

Blog post posted on 11/06/21 |

IAM RoadSmart is partnering with Nextbase, the market-leader of in-car technology to get UK motorists back on the road safely this summer.  

The Nextbase and IAM RoadSmart Driving Intelligence e-learning modules are free of charge with the purchase of any Nextbase dash cam. The modules help drivers learn about managing their speed and its impact on stopping distances, smart motorways and – via a simple quiz – important driving safety facts. 

Richard Gladman, Head of Driving & Riding Standards & Product Development for IAM RoadSmart has provided some tips to combat those bad post Lockdown habits.

• 61% of UK drivers believe they are ‘COVID Drivers’ with car accidents increasing sharply by 22% over the late May Bank Holiday.
With a break in ‘training’ or driving and riding skills are bound to get rusty. Remember that when you are venturing back out onto the road. 
Stay alert, avoid rushing or putting yourself under undue pressure as that will make you more likely to miss key clues and that may lead to accidents. Remember you’re not the only one on the road and while you might be paying attention there is always room for human error. That could be a child or animal running into the road, another driver taking a wrong turn or losing control of the car. You have a better chance of avoiding these if you’re alert and 100% focused behind the wheel.

• 44% of drivers feel nervous about taking long-distance drives post-lockdown.
Preparation is key. We encourage our riders and drivers to stop regularly to ensure they are refreshed. This means at least every 100 miles or two hours of driving. This will hopefully stop fatigue setting in.

Another good tip is if you know you have a long-distance to cover ensure you start off refreshed. Get a good night’s sleep or take a nap before the journey. Avoid driving early in the morning or late at night if you can prevent it. Consume a caffeinated drink, share the drive if possible and avoid travelling after a huge meal. 

• 38% of those surveyed expect to see an increase in road rage due to a traffic increase post lockdown.
People’s stress levels and mental health have hugely been impacted over Lockdown. Increased workloads or demands of the job for those working. The worry and pressure if you were unable to work or were made redundant. Poor work or life balance and domestic or personal issues all have an impact. The simple answer is be kind, use some of the compassion we were all encouraged to employ during Lockdown and apply it to other road users.

Even if you aren’t stressed you don’t know what the car drive in front or the motorbike rider next to you is going through. Road rage doesn’t happen like any state it builds up over time, but your behaviour might be the last straw. 

• 42% confessed their driving skills were more than a little rusty following a decrease in their time spent on the road
If you’re concerned your skills are rusty then you need to practice them to get back up to standard. We would encourage you to do this on a quieter day or time. Avoid going out, if you are feeling rusty, during rush hour as it will add pressure.
Consider taking a friend, don’t be afraid to ask someone you know or us. We have over 180 groups and 82,000 members that can help.

• 29% of UK drivers said they are worrying about motorway driving now
Motorway driving is a module we offer.  Smart Motorways can be a challenge, if you don’t live near one, you may not have experienced one. They are part of the package available through the partnership offered by the Nextbase and IAM RoadSmart Driving Intelligence e-learning modules

• 26% of drivers said they feel more pressure driving now, due to busier roads.
Planning is a key factor to avoiding busy roads and rush hour. Can you change your route or routine? Could you start your day earlier or later to avoid that rush? Could you keep embracing flexible working or working from home? All these things can be used individually or in conjunction to help you avoid the pressure and busy roads.  We’ve lived with Zoom and Teams for 15 months now, so utilise for your safety if needed!

• (22%) said they steer one-handed, 
Obviously not advised, against the highway code and dangerous. Two hands on the wheel at all times (unless changing gear or performing another driving related task) is preferable. Also, I would be very concerned about what they are doing with the spare hand? Hanging out of the window is preferable to playing with an infotainment system or phone. Hand or arm out the window, whilst it’s allowed it’s still not great! Six points if you get caught using your ‘spare’ hand to control your phone! 

• 15% said they drive far too quickly.
More haste less speed. Unless you are on a racetrack at one of our Skills Days then you should slow down. Speeding means less time to react, more chance of an accident and less control. This goes back to planning. Poor planning leaves you in a rush and could encourage you to speed. However, answer the question ‘what if’? What if you were going at the right speed or slower and you hit a tree, person, or another car? Driving more slowly will mean less damage and you don’t want to have to live with a ‘what if I wasn’t speeding…”

• One in 10 (14%) say they have completely forgotten how to drive their car.
Then these people definitely need to book on one of our courses, find a local group and rebuild their skills and confidence. In the meantime, use Uber to get around and Zoom to talk to friends. Walking, cycling and being a passenger is also recommended. I’m sure they haven’t completely forgotten to drive but they may have lost confidence so need to restart their training at a quiet time and with someone to help them. 

• One in ten (11%) of those polled insisted they cannot remember a single thing from their theory test 
This is something that is quite common and for those people of a certain age they didn’t have a theory test which compares to the one now. Unfortunately, it is all too common that drivers and riders only look at their highway code and familiarise themselves with the rules of the road when they are taking or retaking their test. This one links with the stat below about admitting to not understanding road signs. 

• 14% admitted they see signs on the road every day which they do not understand.
Road signs are there for our safety and protection. If you don’t know or understand them then it’s best to re-educate yourself ASAP. There’s really no excuse as the highway code and road signs are available online. Google really does have an answer for everything. If in doubt, check it out! If you want to add some fun, quiz yourself or people in the car with you. Being careful not to distract the person driving, see if your passengers know more than you. If you’re not driving and it’s safe you can Google what they mean too. You’re never too old to learn. 

• 12% confessed to getting easily distracted when in the car
This isn’t a surprise. Our recent survey into Infotainment revealed that in-vehicle infotainment systems, designed to improve road safety, are failing, and are actually a huge distraction.  If it’s not infotainment and it’s your passengers or music, then you still need to do something to get yourself back into focus. Lack of focus and distractions will seriously impact reaction times and could mean you end up boosting the ‘COVID-Drivers’ statistic as a potential cause of a collision or by having a crash of your own.  

Don’t become a statistic, break those bad driving habits now! For more information on our on-road or e-learning modules check out the courses available to buy on our website and sign up now.  Advanced driving and riding courses | IAM RoadSmart