Many people mark the start of a new year by deciding to make some changes for the better, whether that’s doing a bit more exercise or eating more healthily. 

But why not use the opportunity to kick a few bad driving habits, as well? Here are some common mistakes to avoid behind the wheel in 2022 and beyond.

1. Put the phone away 

It’s no secret that using your mobile phone while driving is incredibly dangerous: you’re four times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone[1].

It is already illegal to text or make a phone call while driving, and in 2022 the government is strengthening laws to ban drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games[2].

If you’re caught using your phone while driving you can be penalised with at least six points on your licence and a £200 fine[3]. You can also be taken to court, which could result in you being banned from driving and receiving a £1,000 fine.

2. Don’t drink and drive

Dry January isn't for everyone. But if you are going to enjoy a few drinks, avoid telling yourself you'll be okay to drive.

Drink driving remains a real danger on UK roads. The latest government stats showed that 5% of casualties in road accidents in 2019 occurred in collisions in which at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit[4].

Road safety campaigners argue that even drivers who drink below the legal limits may be putting themselves and others at risk.

So, if you’re going to have a drink, the safest bet is to not drive at all.

3. Remove the distractions

It’s easy to get distracted when you’re driving, whether it’s because your children are arguing in the back, or because you’re trying to change the radio station.

These distractions can lead to mistakes or accidents, so, if you’re aiming to improve your driving in 2022, then tackling them is a good starting point.

If you find yourself losing focus because of the kids, then work out ways to keep them entertained in advance of the journey, whether that’s bringing something to eat or even a book to read.

Similarly, if you tend to get distracted by conversations with your passengers, let them know this before you get in the car to reduce the chances of those chats stealing your focus.

4. Watch your speed

Exceeding the speed limit is an all too frequent habit for plenty of motorists. Government stats show that more than half (53%) of drivers exceeded the speed limit on motorways in 2020. This is even worse on 30mph roads, where 56% of drivers went too fast.

But speed limits are in place for very good reasons ‒ sticking to them is the easiest way to make sure you’re driving at a safe speed for the conditions of that road. Besides, you don’t even save that much time by speeding.

5. Give your car some TLC

Buying a car is probably the biggest purchase you make, after your house. So it’s worth investing just a little time to ensure you get the most for your money and keep your vehicle in good working condition.

By doing so, you can improve everything from your fuel economy to the vehicle’s chances of passing its MOT.

Get into the routine of regularly checking for wear and tear on the tyres (as well as pressure levels), top up your washer bottle, and keep the vehicle clean both inside and out.

To read more about road safety go to Solved.