Protecting yourself and your passengers

The following tips should help you make sure you and your passengers are safe.

Use head restraints

Whiplash injuries often result in many days of pain and suffering. Injuries such as whiplash currently cost British insurers over £1 billion a year and account for over 80% of the total cost of personal injury claims.

To prevent whiplash, adjust your head restraint so it is as close to the back of your head as possible (it is best if your head touches the restraint). The top of the restraint should be as high as the top of your head.

You and the people travelling with you should check the position of your head restraints before every journey.

Remember, it's a head restraint – do not use it as a headrest.

Take regular breaks

Tiredness is thought to be a major cause of many road accidents. You should take a break for at least 15 minutes every two hours. 

It is illegal to use your hand-held mobile phone while driving

Making or receiving a call, even using a hands-free phone, can distract you from driving and could lead to an accident. It is now against the law to use a hand-held mobile phone. If you're caught using a hand-held phone while driving you can get an automatic fixed penalty notice. You’ll get 3 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £100. Your case could also go to court and you could be disqualified from driving and get a maximum fine of £1,000.

Wear seat belts

It is against the law not to wear a seat belt if one is fitted. Wearing a seat belt could keep you safe if you have an accident. Make sure you adjust the seat belt properly for your height and build.

The law provides a number of exemptions from wearing seat belts. These are based on medical and other reasons.

Please ask your doctor if you think you should not wear a seatbelt for medical reasons.

To be exempt for medical reasons, you must hold a 'Certificate of exemption from compulsory seat-belt wearing' issued by a qualified medical practitioner and you must show it to the police if they ask.

Child car seats

Since 18 September 2006, new laws apply to protect children in cars.