Advice for road users

Here you can find helpful tips and advice to increase your safety and others on the road

  • The speed limit is a limit not a target.
  • In some road conditions including fog, rain and traffic flow, driving or riding at the speed limit could be too fast.
  • The national speed limit on single carriage roads is 60 mph. However, the average free flow speed is 48 mph on these roads.
Country roads
  • Read the road ahead, anticipate potential hazards and brake before the bend, not into it.
  • Look out for hidden dips, upcoming bends blind summits and concealed entrances. Always drive at a speed which will allow you to stop in a distance you can see to be clear.
  • Remember the risks if you have to get up unusually early to start a long drive. Try to avoid a long trip between midnight and six am when you are likely to feel sleepy.
  • If you start to feel sleepy, find a safe place to stop (not the hard shoulder of a motorway). Drink two cups of coffee or a high-caffeine drink and have a rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow time for the caffeine to kick in.
  • Plan your journey to include a 15 minute break every 2 to 3 hours.
Mobile phones
  • Put your phone away before starting a journey, this way you won’t be tempted to use it.
  • Don’t contact someones mobile if you know they are driving or riding.
  • Make a pledge to not use your phone whilst driving or riding via RAC’s be phone smart.
Drink driving
  • Drink driving is illegal and puts lives at risk.
  • It is not possible to say how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit, as the way alcohol affects you depends on many factors – so if you’re driving it’s better not to drink at all.
  • If you are planning to drink alcohol, plan how to get home without driving. Agree a designated driver, save a taxi number in your phone, or find out about public transport routes and times.
  • Remember being only down the road is not an excuse to drive or ride under the influence of alcohol. A large proportion proportion of all drink driving crashes occur within three miles of the start of the journey.
Drug driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs is illegal, extremely dangerous and negatively affects your abilities. Your perception of time and distance is distorted, resulting in poor concentration and control of the vehicle.
  • A sense of overconfidence can develop which can result in high risk behavior, including speeding and aggressive manoeuvers.
  • Once the affects of a drug has worn off the user still may feel fatigue, affecting concentration levels and driving or riding abilities.
  • Ride decisively and keep clear of the kerb.
  • Look and signal to show drivers what you plan to do, make eye contact where possible.
  • Avoid riding up the inside of vehicles, as you might not be seen. If a vehicle is indicating to the left hang back at the junction to reduce the risk of a collision.
  • Always use lights after dark or when visibility is poor. Wear high-visibility and reflective clothing and accessories at all times.
  • Wear a correctly fitted cycle helmet that is securely fastened and conforms to current regulations.
  • Always wear a seat belt, and wear it correctly so it can offer you the best protection in a crash. You are twice as likely to die in a car crash if you do not. Even on short journeys, familiar journeys and at low speeds, not wearing a seat belt can be fatal.
  • Put your phone away before driving so you won’t be tempted to use it – make the glove compartment the phone compartment. Pull over if you need to adjust a hands free device or check your map.
  • Driving too close to the car in front, undertaking and failing to signal are widely accepted as examples of bad driving.  However, driving too fast is also poor driving. It is a contributory factor in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries every year. Consider the emotional consequences of injuries and deaths caused to others due to driving at excessive speeds and crashing. If you cause a crash you will have to live with these consequences.
Look out for vulnerable road users:
  • Look out for cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and horse riders. Make eye contact where possible to show you have seen them. Use your indicators to signal intentions and look out for their signals.
  • Give cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders plenty of space when overtaking them. Don’t accelerate rapidly, sound your horn or rev your engine when passing horses and watch out for sudden movements by the horse.
  • Always check for cyclists and motorcyclists when opening your car door, pulling out at a junction, or when doing a manoeuvre.
  • Advanced stop lines at lights allow vulnerable road users to get to the front and increase their visibility. You must stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red. When the green signal shows allow the other road user time and space to move off.
Learner drivers

The DVSA’s ‘Ready to Pass?’ campaign has tips for learner drivers about:

  • finding an approved driving instructor
  • how to monitor and check progress of your driving lessons and private practice
  • when to take a mock test
  • how to manage your test day nerves

It also includes a checklist that has all the things that learners should do before taking their driving test.

Visit the Ready to Pass? website to find out more.


  • Always display fluorescent or reflective clothing on both horse and rider, whatever the weather or light conditions.
  • Don’t ride in failing light, fog or darkness.
  • Avoid icy or snowy roads where possible.
  • Never take a mounted group of more than eight horses on the road.
  • If riding two abreast, move into single file when it is safe to do so to allow motorists to overtake.
  • Always cross major crossings as a group, rather than one by one.
  • Leave details of your intended route and estimated time of return with a responsible person.
  • If riding a horse that is not used to roads, ask a calm and experienced rider to accompany you.
  • Position yourself in the safest and best place to maximise your visibility of potential hazards.
  • Take a ‘lifesaver’ glance over your shoulder before carrying out manoeuvres, so you know where other vehicles are.
  • Make sure to wear the right gear. Fall off your bike and tarmac will shed your jeans in seconds. Bikers must wear a protective jacket, gloves, boots and trousers.
  • Wear bright florescent gear during the day and reflective gear at night.
  • Choosing the right helmet could help save your life. Sharp ratings help you understand how much protection a helmet offers in a crash. Visit the SHARP website. 
  • Consider further skills training to improve your performance, confidence and safety on the road. RideFree is a DVSA digital rider theory course. The free, voluntary scheme is aimed at new riders and contains a series of 6 online modules to be taken by the learner rider before they complete their CBT. Access RideFree here.
  • Elite Rider Hub is designed to help you choose the most suitable post-test training opportunities. It gives an insight into training which will make you a safe, capable, and progressive rider. Access Elite Rider Hub here