top ten driving faults

finding fault


A recent survey by driver safety and risk management specialist Peak Performance Management (PPM) has compiled a league table of the Top Ten driving faults in the UK, based upon real life experience with hundreds of corporate clients over the last 13 years.

Number one in the table of most common driving faults is low speed collisions whilst parking and manoeuvring. While this usually causes no more than a scratch or bumper damage, it can easily result in a crush injury or even death for a pedestrian. The PPM advice is for drivers to do everything slowly, with the fastest thing moving being their eyes through both mirrors AND screens, front and rear. Do not guess, get out and look or get help!

At number two in the league table is driving too close to the vehicle in front, with the likelihood of a rear end collision at typical slow-down situations - such as roundabouts or other traffic queues. This can be avoided by applying the 'two second rule' - leaving a gap of at least two seconds between you and the car in front. And adopting the mantra "only a fool breaks the two second rule".

Fault number three in the chart is stopping too close to the vehicle in front, with the likelihood of being pushed into the vehicle in front in the event of you being hit from behind, or being unable to drive around the vehicle if it breaks down. This can be avoided by stopping so that you can see where the rear wheels of the vehicle in front touch the tarmac. Leave more space if the vehicle in front of you is an HGV.

At number four in the league table, is the problem of excessive speed for the road situation, leading to a front-end collision or loss of control of the vehicle during heavy braking. The remedy is to stay within posted speed limits, and use forward observation to identify anything that may cause you to slow down well in advance.

Most common fault number five is tiredness whilst driving, and falling asleep at the wheel can have fatal consequences particularly in motorway situations. Recent statistics are showing that this is a much bigger problem than first thought.

The answer it to take regular breaks - a break of 15 minutes for every two hours of driving is about right. Do not attempt to drive long distances if you are already tired.

Most common fault number six is moving into the blind spot of another vehicle, and being 'side-swiped' when the other vehicle doesn't see you and pulls out. This can be avoided by using the door mirrors of the other vehicle - if you can see the other driver's face in their door mirror, they can see you. Watch out for foreign registered vehicles which usually have bigger blind spots.

Fault number seven in the league table is braking reactively or too late for the situation, with the likelihood that the following vehicle will run into the back of you. Always try and alert the car behind by applying the brake lights early, which should encourage them to increase their following distance.

Most common fault number eight is lack of hazard awareness by company drivers, often resulting in harsh braking and front or rear end accident potential. Always try and remember 'more money spent means more danger' - which means that the more money spent on the road in terms of paint, signs, surfacing and other 'road furniture', the greater the hazard and risk of danger. That's why the money has been spent in the first place!

At number nine is the fault of not allowing for different ' driver types' - such as HGVs, buses, vans, taxis and despatch riders, all of whom have different pressures and time constraints on their driving styles. Always try and be aware of driver types around you, and watch and learn from what you see on the road.

And last but not least, at number ten is poor road positioning causing vision problems for other drivers. If another driver cannot see you until the last minute, this will reduce their reaction time and may cause late braking or collisions, especially on faster roads.

Top Ten driving faults

Low speed manoeuvring

Driving too close to the vehicle in front

Stopping to close to vehicle in front

Excessive speed

Tiredness while driving

Moving into other vehicles' blind spots

Braking reactively or too late

Lack of hazard awareness

Not allowing for different 'driver types'

Poor road positioning