Even for the most experienced driver, city driving can be a challenge
The complexity of roads and junctions alongside high levels of traffic and a high density of vulnerable road users makes sure of that. The overload of information and constantly changing road picture adds to the hazards of driving on the crowded city roads. And you can add a higher number of potential distractions into the mix too. That’s why urban accident rates are much higher than rural ones.
Below are some top tips on keeping you and other road users safe in the city. If you consider these key points, you will be better prepared for the particular hazards of urban environments and understand how to protect yourself and others whilst driving in the city.
Knowing about city specific hazards will ensure you understand what to be vigilant about whilst driving in the city.
- Vulnerable road users
- Emissions / Pollution
- Time restrictions
- Road restrictions
- Confusing layouts and excessive signage
- Lots of narrow roads and dead end streets with a lack of manoeuvrability
Whenever you are driving in the city, ask yourself:
- Do you know where you’re delivering to? Have you checked the access and made sure there is a safe loading/unloading area?
- Are you aware of vulnerable road users and who they are?
- Do you know if there are any planned road works or road closures which could affect your journey time?
What are vulnerable road users?
Vulnerable road users are everywhere in the city and you must be aware of them to ensure you reduce the risk of an accident, protecting them and yourself.
- Pedestrians who can be easily distracted by music or mobile phones. Elderly pedestrians may have restricted mobility, taking them longer to cross roads, whereas young pedestrians may step out without looking properly first.
- Cyclists – many people cycle to work in the city. They can be difficult to see, especially at junctions and at roundabouts where they are particularly vulnerable.
- Motorcyclists are often moving quickly through city traffic, particularly if there is congestion. They can be difficult to see especially when they pull out at junctions.
Cycle Superhighways and Special Spaces
Cycle superhighways, play streets and shared spaces are all schemes which aim to make cities safer for both drivers and other road users.
- Cycle superhighways are cycle routes running from outer city areas into and across the city. They offer a safer cycling environment – avoiding congestion and lowering vehicle pollution.
- Play streets are streets which are closed to traffic, typically once a week or month, and opened up for children and adults to enjoy a safe outdoor play area.
- Shared spaces are streets or places designed to improve the movement of pedestrians by reducing the dominance of vehicles. They encourage drivers to be more attentive and reduce vehicle speeds.
Inner City Schemes
To ensure safer city driving, Transport for London (TfL) has initiated a number of inner city schemes. Some of these are being adopted by councils elsewhere in the UK.
- Safer Lorry Scheme
- London Lorry Control Scheme
- Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS)
- Low Emission Zones
- London Congestion Charge
Air and Noise Pollution
By working together, for example consolidating deliveries in cities, driving in a more fuel efficient way, and scheduling deliveries at appropriate times of the day or night, operators and drivers can help to reduce the air and noise pollution in our cities, improving life for us all.