Keep on top of your driving responsibilities

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    The first few weeks of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on your life, and make some positive changes to help improve or streamline certain aspects of it. Driving, and car ownership is an ideal area to think about, as it involves not only admin but also the practical elements of driving yourself and your passengers around. Here are some areas to start looking into this month.

    Safety first

    You know the sobering statistics around vehicle accidents, collisions and fatalities, yet how often do you stop and think about how you could improve your own safety practices? Make sure you stick to the legal speeding limits – even if you are late for an appointment – and always take the weather into account as you drive. Winter can be highly treacherous with icy roads, foggy mornings and heavy rain. Always wear your seatbelt and never be tempted to pick up or glance at your phone while on the move.

    Proper paperwork

    Make sure you are fully up-to-date on your car paperwork, including insurance, road tax, MOT certificates and service records. Doing this will not only help you avoid missing payment deadlines or key servicing dates, but a complete paper trail will also make your vehicle far more attractive to potential buyers when you want to sell it on. If you sort all these kinds of things out online, then don’t forget to make a note of any passwords, web addresses and policy numbers in a notebook or diary as a backup. Later this year, a new, interactive car management service called Carol is set to launch. Carol will allow users to purchase insurance, schedule servicing and MOTs and track and make vehicle tax payments, all through a single, online platform.

    Look after your licence

    Whether you already have penalty points, or not, driving carefully and according to the law will help keep your licence clean and your insurance premiums down. Too many accrued points will result in a temporary or even permanent driving ban. Find a safe place to keep your licence in case you ever need to show it to a police officer or need it for identification purposes. You might consider taking a photocopy of it as well, so that you have the details to hand in case the real thing is ever lost or stolen.

    Keep calm and drive on

    Always remember to remain calm behind the wheel – getting angry at another road user’s actions is never a good idea. In an accident or collision, your calmness will be appreciated by everyone involved, and could prevent an incident from escalating further. Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and try to remain patient while waiting at traffic lights, in queues or when someone in front of you is driving slower than you would perhaps like to be travelling yourself.

    Have some fun

    Don’t forget that your car need not only be used to take you to and from work or to cart home the weekly shop. Plan some day trips, or longer driving holidays this year to make the most of your car and the freedom it affords you. Grab a map or go online to look up places that will inspire you and release your inner explorer!

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