Choices For Humanity

Dorset Road Safe's #ChoicesForHumanity road safety campaign aims to encourage all road users to make better choices. 

Here you can find more information about how you can stay safe on the roads of Dorset.

Check out the full collection of road safety messages below! The image will change every 10 seconds. 

Drive safe your choice

Staying safe

  • It’s illegal to use a handheld mobile phone while driving in the UK.
  • This includes holding and using a mobile phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media. It applies even if you have stopped at traffic lights or are queuing in traffic.
  • You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency, as long as it’s unsafe or impractical to stop first.
  • Using hands-free (e.g. for navigation) is not illegal. However if this distracts you and affects your ability to drive safely, you can still be stopped by the police.
  • The penalties for driving carelessly when using a handheld or hands-free phone can include disqualification, a large fine and up to two years imprisonment.

If you are caught using a handheld mobile phone whilst driving:

  • You get six penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200
  • If you get six points in the first two years of passing your test you will lose your licence

You must drive at an appropriate speed, within the indicated speed limit at all times. Remember to:

  • Plan your journey and allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
  • Drive at an appropriate speed for the road and the weather conditions.
  • Keep a two seconds distance from the vehicle in front.
  • Know the speed limits for the road and restrictions for your vehicle.
  • Not get confused over imperial and metric road signs, for example, speed limits or bridge heights.

If you build up 12 or more penalty points within a period of three years you will be disqualified from driving.

If caught speeding by a speed camera the vehicle’s registered keeper will be sent a notice of intended prosecution. You face having to go to court if you ignore the notice.

The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and three penalty points, or you may be offered a driver awareness course in some circumstances.

  • In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the legal alcohol limit for drivers is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. In Scotland the legal alcohol limit for drivers is 22 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath
  • One drink could be enough to push you over the limit. If you’re planning to drink alcohol, do not mix this with driving.
  • Agree on a designated driver, taking a taxi or using public transport are all options
  • Don’t offer an alcoholic drink to someone you know is planning to drive
  • Don’t accept a lift from a driver you know has drunk alcohol or taken drugs
  • It is against the law to drive under the influence of certain drugs.
  • Some illegal drugs, such as cannabis, can stay in your system for several weeks.
  • Police are able to do a roadside test to detect those who are driving under the influence of illegal drugs.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs impairs your driving ability and is extremely dangerous.
  • The penalty for causing death by dangerous driving under the influence of drugs is a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
  • Certain medicines can also affect your ability to drive, check with your doctor or pharmacist

If you are convicted of drink or drug driving you could receive:

  • A minimum 12 month driving ban
  • A criminal record
  • A large fine
  • Up to six months in prison
  • An endorsement on your licence for 11 years
  • Increased insurance premium
  • Wearing a seat belt saves lives. It is a legal requirement in the UK to use a seat belt if one is fitted in your vehicle for the driver and all passengers.
  • For children up to 135cm in height they should use a child restraint.
  • Only one person is allowed in each seat fitted with a seat belt, never use the same seat belt around two passengers
  • As a passenger over the age of 14 it is your responsibility to ensure you are wearing a seat belt. Failure to do so will result in a fine of £100.

As a driver, you must make sure any children in the vehicle are:

  • In the correct car seat and restraint for their height (under 135cm tall)
  • Wearing a seat belt if they are 12 years old and above, or over 135cm tall (whichever they reach first)
  • You can be fined up to £500 if a child under 14 isn’t in the correct car seat or wearing a seat belt while you are driving

There is no standard list that would be considered as careless or inconsiderate, however, the General Advice section of the Highway Code provides some good examples, in particular rule 147, be considerate, rule 148, safe driving and riding needs concentration and rule 150, you MUST exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times. In fact any minor breach of the Highway Code could be treated as an offence.

Examples include:

  • Driving too close
  • Failing to give way at a junction
  • Inappropriate speed
  • Operating a Sat Nav while driving
  • Eating and drinking at the wheel
  • Poor overtaking

There are four different ways an offence can be dealt with depending on the circumstances and its severity.

  • Summons – either plead guilty and accept a fine or go to the Magistrates Court
  • Fixed Penalty
  • Offer of Educational Training
  • Warning – no further action

Having car insurance is a legal requirement and with the right level of cover, provides financial protection in the event of your vehicle being damaged. It will also provide cover for injuries to other drivers, passengers or pedestrians, and their property.

Why is car insurance necessary?

Having car insurance is essential because it covers your expenses in the event of vehicle damage or injuries to other drivers, passengers or pedestrians.

All motorists must be insured against their liability to other people, as stipulated by Section 143(2) Road Traffic Act 1988. A policy of insurance must be issued by an authorised insurer.

Insurance can also provide financial support if your car is stolen, vandalised or destroyed by fire. 

If you have declared your vehicle off the road through a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) from the DVLA you will not need insurance for that period of time.

What if I’m not insured?

Driving without car insurance is illegal. If you don’t have it, you could be fined or disqualified from driving. The maximum fine is unlimited, plus you'll receive six to eight penalty points on your licence. 

The police have the power to seize and destroy any vehicle being driven without cover.

Types of car insurance

There are three levels of cover you can choose from - third party; third party, fire and theft; and comprehensive.

  • Third party - This is the bare minimum required by law, but isn't always the cheapest. It covers injuries to other people and damage to others property.
  • Third party, fire and theft - This is the same as third party but also covers the cost of repairs or a replacement vehicle if your car is stolen or damaged by fire.
  • Comprehensive - This is the highest level of cover you can get. It protects against damage to your own car as well as accidents involving other people. It can also include a courtesy car and legal expenses insurance; however this may be at an additional cost.

It's common to find your windscreen misted up when you get into a cold car. It's important to clear it thoroughly - there's probably a windscreen demister button in your car that will direct maximum airflow to the windscreen to clear it quickly. Air-con's not just for summer - it helps to dry the air in the car too so helps clear a misted windscreen. Keep a micro-fibre cloth in the car to wipe the screen if it mists over again while you're driving.

Rear screens mist up too but have electrical heating elements running across them to clear this quickly. (Some cars have an electrically heated front windscreen too with very fine wire heating elements embedded in the glass.) You might be fortunate and have heated mirrors as well otherwise you'll have to resort to a wipe with a cloth. You could also try demisting sprays, which claim to leave your windshield fog free for a few weeks.

For foggy glasses, wipe them with a cloth (preferably a micro-fibre lens cloth) making sure no smears remain. There are also anti-fog lenses available, and are offered by most opticians

The glare of light from the sun or passing cars is another potential distraction when you're driving. The best way to reduce glare is to make sure that your windscreen is clean inside and out, and free from any cracks or stone chips. Cleaning your windscreen and wiper blades will help ensure that there are no smears.

While a cracked windscreen is not specifically considered a driving offence, the Highway Code requires that windscreens and windows must be kept clear and free from obstructions to vision.

Failure to keep your vision free from obstruction could result in a fine and three penalty points. It may also mean you're held responsible in the event of an accident and could cause your car to fail its MOT.

Other road users

  • You must not cycle on a pavement, unless it has a marked cycle lane.
  • You must not cross the stop line when the traffic lights are red.
  • At night your bicycle must have white front and rear red lights lit.
  • You must not carry a passenger unless your bicycle has been built or adapted to carry one.
  • You must not ride under the influence of drink or drugs, including medicine.
  • Make sure before you set off that every rider wears a helmet and high visibility clothing.
  • Make sure, when overtaking, that you pass wide around parked cars, to avoid doors opening unexpectedly. And don’t do anything until you have had a good look over your right shoulder.
  • Try to position yourself so that you can be seen in the side mirrors of large vehicles.
  • Remember, lorry and coach drivers often have blind spots and cannot see cyclists.
  • Children, infants and toddlers will need to be carried in properly fitted child seats which conform to BS EN 14344 2004, the appropriate British standard for child bicycle seats.
  • When choosing a seat, ensure there are footrests to guard against feet straying into wheel spokes. Check how the harness locks and releases, and make sure your child is comfortable in the seat.

All road users have equal rights to use the highway safely. 

  • We recommend giving 1.5m at the very least as a minimum safe distance for overtaking in slow moving traffic.  If you cannot allow the minimum distance, do not overtake.  We recommend at any speed a car width may be  needed to overtake safely.
  • Horse riders feel vulnerable when drivers are too close, please pass wide and slow
  • Riders may double file when escorting a young or inexperienced horse or rider.
  • Concentrate on  your driving and do not use  your mobile phone, avoid all distractions in the car.
  • You must not use any lights in a way which would dazzle or cause discomfort to the other road users including  horse riders.
  • Horses can be unpredictable, treat them as a hazard.  Look out for  horse riders’ signals and heed a request to slow down or stop.
  • Watch out for  horse riders who may take a different line on the road from that which you would expect.
  • Do not drive close behind horse and rider or sound your horn, rev your engine and keep air brakes as quiet as possible – you may cross a solid white line if it is safe to do so, when passing a horse, stationary vehicle, cycle or road maintenance vehicle travelling at 10mph or less.
  • Horse riders may not always give a signal especially mid-junction or on a roundabout as they need both hands for managing the horse.
  • As you get older our eyes become less sensitive to light so focusing takes longer.
  • You are three times safer using a crossing that not using one
  • Motor skills can be less effective due to weaker muscles and that affects overall flexibility.

Buggy or push chair:

  • Strap in your child securely.
  • Keep well back from the edge of the road.
  • When going down hills, use a strap that goes around your wrist and around the buggy handle.

When your child starts to walk with you:

  • Make sure hand holding is your number one rule.
  • Use safety reins or a wrist strap.
  • It is recommended to hold hands until your child is at least eight.

Watch your children

  • Children should not cross streets by themselves or be allowed to play or walk near traffic. Children are small, unpredictable, and cannot judge vehicle distances and speeds.
  • Know where they’re going. Help them plan a safe route.
  • If you live by roads with fast traffic, don’t let them out alone.

Teenagers

  • Research from THINK! Road Safety campaign has revealed that the majority of teenagers admit that they are easily distracted by talking to their friends and using a phone, as they cross the road.
  • Almost one in five (18%) teenagers reported having been in a road accident or ‘near miss’ on their way home from school.

See and Be Seen

  • Drivers need to see you so wear bright colours or reflective clothing if you are walking near traffic at night. Carry a torch when walking in the dark.
  • Make eye contact with drivers when crossing busy streets.
  • On country roads always walk on the right hand side

Mature Adults

  • Mature pedestrians should allow themselves plenty of time to cross the road.
  • Always make eye contact with drivers if possible to ensure that they see you.

Expect the unexpected – Drivers often fail to notice motorcyclists so it’s best to always ride with the expectation that you won’t be seen, and to be alert and observant and keep an eye out for other vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists.

Make yourself visible – Wear a light or brightly coloured helmet and fluorescent clothing or strips when riding in daylight and reflective clothing or strips when riding in the dark.

Get your positioning right – Position yourself in the most visible place, usually the middle of the lane. Take up your road position in good time before turning right or left, showing others what you aim to do.

Take care when overtaking – Can you see hazards? Is there a bend or junction? Can you overtake without speeding up or swerving too much? Before you overtake, take a lifesaver glance over your shoulder and check what others around you are doing. 

Look after your gear – and it will look after you. Always wear the right clothes - leathers, gloves, boots and a safety helmet that fits. Don’t buy second-hand kit as the chances are it won’t protect you properly if you have a crash.

Dress for the weather – Be prepared for the weather to change. Take waterproofs and visor wipes for that sudden downpour – an uncomfortable ride can distract you from hazards.

Bikesafe is a national educational initiative. For more information visit www.bikesafe.co.uk

Children up to a minimum of 135cm (4ft 5ins) must use the appropriate child restraint for their weight (not age) when travelling in the front or backseat of any vehicle. ’Child restraint’ means baby seat, child seat or high back booster seat.

ISOFIX v Seat Belt Fit

The shape of car seats, the length of seat belts and the position of seat belt anchor points differ between vehicles, so not all child seats fit all.

Not all Isofix seats are approved for use in all Isofix vehicles either. i-size seats also fit into Isofix points, but not all of them.

It is important to check with the child seat manufacturer and retailer to find out which is approved for your vehicle.

Child Car Seats:

  • Should be compatible for your child and your vehicle
  • Should be fitted correctly
  • Your child must be properly strapped in (try before you buy)
  • Give babies a break after 90 minutes

For help and guidance see www.goodeggsafety.com

Most vans:

  • have a lower speed limit than cars
  • must follow the speed limits for goods vehicles of the same weight

Vehicles under 2 tonnes laden (loaded) weight may qualify as a ‘car-derived van’ or ‘dual-purpose vehicle’. These vehicles have the same speed limits as cars.

Car derived vans

Very few vans will meet the criteria for a car derived van (CDV). Those that do are likely to be similar to a Ford Fiesta van, Vauxhall Corsa or Renault Clio van.

Schedule 6 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 describes a car derived van as:

‘car-derived van’ means a goods vehicle which is constructed or adapted as a derivative of a passenger vehicle and which has a maximum laden weight not exceeding 2 tonnes.’

How to identify a car derived van

Car derived vans are:

  • designed to weigh no more than 2 tonnes when loaded fully
  • based on car designs or the vehicle is built from a platform which has been designed and developed to be built as a car or a van by the same manufacturer

As a general rule, from the outside, these vehicles will look like the size of a car, but on the inside the vehicle will look like and function as a van, because:

  • there will be no rear seats, rear seat belts or mountings
  • there will be a payload area with floor panel in the rear of the vehicle
  • there will be no side windows in the rear of the vehicle - or if present, side windows will be opaque and fixed (with no means of opening or closing)

If your van is a CDV, it will be recorded as such under ‘body type’ on the vehicle’s registration document (V5C). If there is any other entry under ‘body type’ the vehicle is not registered as a car derived van and will be subject to speeds lower than the national limits.

Speed limits

Car derived vans are the only light commercial (goods) vehicles which are subject to the same speed limits as a car.

All other light commercial (goods) vehicles, including small vans, are restricted to maximum speed limits applicable to goods vehicles not exceeding 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight:

  • 50mph on single carriageways
  • 60mph on dual carriageways
  • 70mph on motorways

Driving can be stressful due to sheer volume of traffic and new engineering & technology in vehicles that we are perhaps unfamiliar with.

Make sure you know your vehicle, what all the switches and dashboard lights are for and know how and when to use them (refer to the vehicle handbook and the Highway Code).

Switching to an automatic car may not always be the best option as unfamiliarity can make it all too easy to hit the wrong pedal at the wrong time, so it might be best to stick to what you know.

Practical Tips

  • Always signal clearly and in good time
  • Only move off when it is safe to do so
  • Take extra care when turning right and emerging at junctions as you will be crossing the path of other vehicles
  • When approaching roundabouts take notice of signs and road markings which direct you into the correct lane
  • Practice good lane discipline
  • Consider refresher training with a qualified Driving Instructor - or contact IAM RoadSmart
  • Do not cross or join a road unless there is a gap large enough for you to do so safely without causing other vehicles to change speed or direction.
  • As we get older the likelihood of being injured on the road increases so it’s helpful to become more aware of the potential hazards and how to avoid them.

Check your eyesight

It is an offence to drive any vehicle if you cannot read a standard number plate in good daylight from 20 metres (20.5 metres, old style number plate).


Health, medicines and mobility

Certain prescribed or over-the-counter medicines can affect driving ability, including everyday remedies such as cold and flu treatments, painkillers and antihistamines.

Driving while impaired is against the law and subject to exactly the same legal penalties as those who drive under the influence of illegal drugs or over the alcohol limit.


Choosing when to stop

Although UK driving licences expire when we reach 70, this doesn’t necessarily reflect the end of our driving career. It simply means that we will need to renew our licence every three years.

There may come a time when you notice your reactions becoming slower or you might start to feel increasingly anxious when out on the road and it may be time to choose to stop driving.

For further help and advice www.olderdriversforum.com

A message from Dorset Road Safe partners:

""Dorset Police has worked hard to adopt a refreshing new and innovative approach to changing road user behaviour, by emphasizing on the road user to make the right choice and highlighting that everyone is human. "Everyone would like to think they are a considerate driver, but sometimes life gets in the way and everyone is so busy rushing about that we forget how catastrophic some road injuries can be. These posters will hopefully remind us that we are all human and have the ability to make the right choice and show humanity towards each other.""

Laressa Robinson - Road Safety Education Manager, Dorset Police

""Dorset Police is renowned for being thought provoking and innovative, and this campaign is no different. It’s time we did something unusual in the hope of catching the attention of some drivers who break the law. "I hope this campaign will resonate with those who make dangerously poor driving choices and perhaps make them think twice about speeding or using their mobile phone. I would implore people to make the right choice to stop them potentially becoming a road traffic accident ‘statistic.""

Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner
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