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Vulnerable road users: Tips from IAM RoadSmart

We are all made up of different shapes and sizes, from old to young and within our unique make-up we each have a different set of problems and vulnerabilities. This week’s tips give advice on sharing the road with vulnerable road users, from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman.

  • Treat pedestrians in the way you would want to be treated. We all have to walk to get to various destinations. It is important give people time and space they need to use the road, especially those with who have restricted mobility. Pay special attention in the rain – you may just spot someone so keen to get out of the rain they may not see you before crossing the road in front of you


  • Cyclists need space too. They share our roads and are vulnerable to other traffic. When driving ensure you have checked to see it’s safe before changing speed or direction. You may be in a hurry but be patient; cyclists are easily affected by the elements and could wobble in instances of windy weather.Before you overtake them, make sure you have given them enough room as they could adjust their road positioning unexpectedly for a pothole or drain. A few seconds delay is better than a lifetime of regret


  • Mobility scooters are becoming more common. This road user may have restricted movement, vision or hearing. Give this road user plenty of space and time, look for any clues which might help you work out where they are heading


  • Don’t scare animals. Animals such as cows and sheep need to be driven past carefully. Horses are normally in rural areas and are accompanied by a rider. They could be nervous of traffic; however police horses can be spotted working in any area.Turn the radio down and keep the engine revs low, be patient and take your time when passing a horse. Keep your car well away from them and proceed slowly


  • Look out for motorcyclists. They can be hard to see especially in blind spots created by pillars or when looking into the sun. You may find them filtering in traffic so before you change position - Think Bike!

Richard said: “Drivers need to remember they are inside at least one tonne of highly engineered metal box fitted with all the latest safety features.  Cyclists and pedestrians have no airbags, crumple zones or seatbelts to protect them.  Always give more vulnerable road users that extra little bit of space and time so you can react. The roads will be a much nicer place if we share nicely.”

Notes to editors:

  1. Richard Gladman is IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards.
  2. IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.

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