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Your Safety on Holiday

...staying safe while having fun

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Related information

  • 'Take time out' to read our alcohol unit guide.
  • A phone app has been developed to help those involved in or discovering a road collision. Download the PANIC phone app.

Road safety




Before you start your journey

  • Plan your journey to include a 15 minute break every two hours of driving.
  • Make sure you are fit to drive; have a good night's sleep before setting out on a long journey.
  • Remember the risks if you have to get up unusually early to start your trip, or have a long drive home after a full day's work.
  • Avoid making long trips between midnight to 6 am and 2 to 4 pm when natural alertness is low.
  • Even a small amount of alcohol, some medicines and drugs can make you drowsy and you're in danger of falling asleep at the wheel.

When you are on your journey

  • Take a 15 minute break every two hours of driving.
  • Share the driving if possible.
  • If you start to feel sleepy find a safe place to stop (not the hard shoulder of a motorway) as soon as possible.
  • Ideally you need a proper sleep but an effective countermeasure to help you get to a safe place where you can get proper sleep is the combination of two cups of strong coffee or high caffeine drink and a nap. Caffeine takes about 20 minutes to take effect. This is time for a short nap. This countermeasure should allow you to continue driving but only for a short time.
  • You do not fall asleep suddenly without any warning. If you are yawning or having difficulty concentrating you are at risk of falling asleep at the wheel. The only cure is to sleep. Opening the window for fresh air, turning up the radio or taking exercise will do little to prevent you from falling asleep.

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Don't leave it until it is too late

  • Difficulty keeping your eyes open, your head nodding and your vehicle drifting out of lane are not warning signs of tiredness, they are symptoms of a microsleep. You need to stop long before you get to this point.
  • A more reliable early warning of tiredness is repeated yawning. When this starts you will need to get off the road and find somewhere to sleep properly.
  • The only real cure for sleepiness is proper sleep. A caffeine drink and a 20 minute nap is a short-term solution only. It cannot be repeated over a long period.


  • 15 minute break every two hours
  • Two cups of strong coffee and nap for 20 minutes
  • Good night's sleep before setting out
  • Share driving if possible

55 teenagers a week wish they'd given the road their full attention - (c) Think Road Safety Campaign (15 kb)Road accidents kill 3,400 people every year in Great Britain - that's over 9 people killed on average every day. A further 37,000 are seriously injured and over 250,000 are slightly injured. (Statistics provided by RoSPA). View more information on road safety on Hampshire County Council's website...

  • Don't use your mobile phone whilst driving. Making or receiving a call, even using a hands-free phone, can distract your attention from driving and could lead to an accident.
  • Belt up. Always wear your seat belt, even in the back of the car. Remember that in a crash, an unbelted rear seat passenger can kill or seriously injure the driver or a front seat passenger.
  • Don't drink and drive. Any alcohol, even a small amount, can impair your driving, so to be a safe driver don't drink and drive.
  • Don't drive under the influence of drugs - whether prescribed medication or illegal substances - it's just as dangerous as driving when drunk and also against the law!
  • Slow down. At 35 mph you are twice as likely to kill someone you hit as at 30 mph.
  • Pedestrians. Children, adults and the elderly can act impulsively, take care everywhere. Take extra care near buses and ice cream vans when children might be around.
  • Take a break. Falling asleep at the wheel is thought to be a major factor in more than 10% of road accidents and up to 20% on motorways and similar roads. Plan to stop for at least a 15-minute break every two hours on a long journey.
  • Walk safely. When crossing a road always use a pedestrian crossing if there is one nearby. Help others to see you by wearing fluorescent or reflective clothing in poor light conditions.
  • Anticipate. Observe and anticipate other road users. Use your mirrors regularly and don't forget to glance into your blind area before altering your course. Motorcyclists, in particular, are often not seen.
  • Look out for motorcyclists. They represent less than 1% of road traffic but account for 18% of deaths and serious injuries and are 40 times more likely to be killed than a car driver.
  • Use child seats. Make sure children under 150 cms tall (about 5ft) use a child restraint suitable for their size. Check they fit properly every trip.
  • Keep your distance. Always keep a two-second gap between you and the car in front.

For your own and others' safety, the law requires you to use a seat belt if one is fitted. Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service urges drivers across the County to heed the following seat belt use advice:

  • Never put the same seat belt around two children, or around yourself and another passenger (adult or child)
  • Do not allow your child to move up to using the adult belt too early
  • Drivers and front seat passengers should sit as far back as possible from the steering wheel or dashboard to reduce the possibility of injury in an accident
  • Lap-and-diagonal belts provide more protection and should be used before lap-only belts
  • Adjust the seat belt so that the lap belt is as low as possible across the hip bones - not over the stomach
  • Make sure the diagonal strap lies across the chest and away from the neck. It should slope up and back to the top fixing point and not be twisted. In many cars, you can adjust the height of the top fixing point to make this easier
  • Do not leave any slack in the belt. The centre rear seats of many cars are fitted with a lap-only seat belt that must be adjusted manually. It is important that you adjust such belts for a snug fit over your hips

Bad weather can strike suddenly so the best advice when severe weather hits is to stay off the road. If you must drive, make sure you are prepared for the conditions. Here are our top ten tips for winter driving:

  • Ask yourself - is your journey absolutely essential?
  • Check local and national weather forecasts to prepare for hazardous conditions.
  • Tell someone at your destination what time you expect to arrive, and allow plenty of time for your journey
  • Take time before a journey for your vehicle to defrost
  • Have your car checked and serviced regularly
  • Beware of black ice, taking extra care in shaded areas
  • Use major roads for journeys rather than smaller, quieter roads
  • In wet and icy conditions brake gently to avoid skidding
  • Keep a safe distance from other vehicles - give yourself time to react
  • Always keep within the speed limit - it is there for your safety

Before you go - Make sure you always have a warm coat, hat and gloves in the car in case you get caught out. Always carry a full charged mobile phone with you so you can call for help.

On the road - Be extra vigilant during the winter months. The braking distance is twice as far on wet roads and increases 10-fold on icy roads.

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Winter motoring requires special care and a little preparation if you are to avoid accidents or breakdowns. Make sure that you keep your car well maintained throughout the winter months and your car will look after you.

  • Tyres - The legal thread depth for tyres is 1.6mm (less than twice the thickness of a CD. During the winter months a thread depth of 3 mm is essential, maximising the effectiveness of clearing water.
  • Batteries - If you regularly drive short distances, your car battery can suffer, particularly on cold mornings. Ensure you make at least one long journey a week to fully charge the battery.
  • Engine - Depress the clutch when starting a cold engine. This disconnects the engine from the gearbox and creates less drag.
  • Screenwash - Keep your screen wash topped up at all times throughout the winter months. Ensure you are using the proper additive at the correct levels of concentration.
  • Bodywork - Wash the car frequently during the winter months to remove salt and dirt that builds up, particularly on windows and lights.
  • Fuel - Keep your car fairly full over the the winter months as you never know when you might get caught in an accident or foul weather. At least you will be able to run the engine and keep warm.
  • Windows - Don't use water to defrost windows. Warm water can crack the glass and cold water will just re-freeze. Ensure you leave plenty of time to fully defrost your car in the morning. A squirt of WD40 in the door locks will prevent them from freezing.

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Related information

  • Avoid entering any river fords during or after periods of rainfall;
  • Always pay attention to warning devices, such as depth gauges;
  • If in doubt, do not enter the water in a vehicle or on foot;
  • If water is safe to enter, always test your vehicle breaks on exiting;
  • Motorists should slow down, cross in lower gears and keep revs up to maintain pressure in the exhaust to prevent water getting into the engine.
  • When driving in poor conditions on wet roads, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued the following advice:
  • Increase your distance from the vehicle in front to improve your ability to see and plan ahead
  • Use headlights as rain and spray from vehicles may make it difficult to see and be seen
  • If steering becomes unresponsive, it probably means that water is preventing the tyres from gripping the road. Ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually
  • Test your brakes at the first safe opportunity if you have driven through deep water as they may be less effective. If they are not fully effective, gently apply light pressure while driving slowly. This will help to dry them out.

For further advice and information on local flood warnings contact the Environment Agency Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or visit

To report weather related issues on highways call Hantsdirect on 0845 603 5633.

You can also get further advice and information by visiting



55 teenagers a week wish they'd given the road their full attention - (c) Think Road Safety Campaign (15 kb)ln line with the national target to achieve a 40% reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured in road accidents by 2010, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is working to promote road safety, targeting young drivers.

Being a good driver is not just about the ability to control a car and having good reflexes but about attitude and being able to spot and understand dangers on the road.

Young drivers are the most at risk group on the road. Every day, two young drivers under the age of 25 die in road traffic accidents. Many die as a consequence of inexperience, speeding, intoxication through drink or drugs or just plain recklessness.

Research has shown that young drivers take more life-threatening risks than other drivers. This is extremely worrying as these drivers have only just received safety training through their theoretical and practical driving tests. This is reflected by the death toll of young drivers. One in ten drivers is under the age of 25, but one in four drivers who die are in this age range, due to risk-taking.

Find out more information for young drivers from Hampshire County Council's website.


Delaying emergency vehicles can cost lives. You need to be ready to give them a clear passage, without putting yourself or other road users at risk.

If you're in the way of an emergency vehicle approaching using its flashing blue lights, headlights and/or siren, you should:

  • Pull over, watching out for pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles;
  • Signal to let people know what you're doing;
  • Pull in as far as you can, leaving a gap big enough for the emergency vehicle to get through;
  • Keep calm; and
  • Stay alert - there may be more vehicles coming.
  • If you're a pedestrian, keep off the road.