Make sure you’re safe and sober on the road this Christmas

Somerset County Council’s road safety team is sending out a crucial reminder to motorists – keep safe on Somerset’s roads this year.

Drivers mustn’t drive home after drinking alcohol. Your ability to drive safely can be affected after just one drink, and the effects of alcohol can also be felt the morning after a night out. The message is clear – get a taxi or designate a driver.

Even if you are sober, winter weather can make travelling a hazardous affair so if you are undertaking a journey this Christmas to see family, check the forecast, load your vehicle sensibly, allow time for rest breaks if you’re travelling a long way and plan your route before you set off.

The law states that you’ll get hit with a £200 fixed penalty and six points on your licence if you’re caught using a mobile phone in your hand whilst in charge of a vehicle, so make sure you safely pull over if you need to reset your satnav or change the playlist.

If you have a long journey ahead of you do some simple maintenance checks before setting off. Think ‘FLOWERS’:

  • F (Fuel): Make sure you have enough for your journey.
  • L (Lights): Ensure they are clean and working properly. If they’re faulty others won’t know what manoeuvres you are planning on making and your visibility will be severely restricted.
  • O (Oil): The correct level of oil prevents your vehicle’s engine from seizing up so top up before you see the oil pressure light come on.
  • W (Water): Check the coolant and windscreen washer fluid levels. It’s important to keep your windscreen as clean as possible to ensure you have good visibility.
  • E (Electrics): Problems with the battery are one of the most common reasons for a breakdown so ensure yours is in good working order.
  • R (Rubber): Check tyres to ensure they have the correct pressures and tread depths. We recommend getting tyres changed at a minimum tread depth of 3mm.
  • S (Self): Ask yourself: ‘Am I fit to drive?’ Illness, fatigue, alcohol, drugs and medication can all affect your ability to drive safely.

Councillor Mike Rigby, Somerset County Council’s Executive Lead member for Transport & Digital said: “The last thing anyone wants at Christmas time is a collision or breakdown. Following the team’s advice can ensure that you stay safe, and therefore have a great Christmas.

“Do not drink or take drugs if you’re driving – you are compromising both your safety and the safety of others. 169 people have been arrested in the Police’s ongoing Operation Tonic crackdown on drink and drug driving, so they will catch you if you take any risks.”

As in 2021, this year’s campaign variable message signs (VMS) will be used on roads around Taunton and Bridgwater to deliver some key reminders to drivers to steer clear of illegal and dangerous behaviour, including drink or drug driving or using a mobile phone whilst driving.

Remember, if you see anyone behaving dangerously on the roads you can phone the Police and contact Crimestoppers, either by phoning 0800 555111 or by visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

For more information on road safety in Somerset, please visit www.somersetroadsafety.org. You can also find Somerset Road Safety on Facebook (www.facebook.com/somersetroadsafety), Twitter (www.twitter.com/SCC_RoadSafety), or Instagram (www.instagram.com/somersetroadsafety).