Cars, vans and lorries.

When you drive a larger vehicle, you need to take responsibility – accidents can happen, and larger vehicles have the potential to cause most harm.

Don't become a statistic

London Fire Brigade attended 4,391 crashes and roadside emergencies in 2022/23 – that's more than 12 every day

We don't want to have to cut you from the wreckage of a car, and we don't want you to have to live with the knowledge that you could have prevented a crash that saw someone else lose their life. That's why providing road safety advice is so important to London Fire Brigade – and our firefighters.

What causes road accidents?

There are five main causes of serious injuries and deaths on the roads.

  1. Travelling too fast for conditions caused 5579 collisions in Great Britain 2016, and 102 fatalities. 

  2. Exceeding the speed limit caused 5102 collisions in Great Britain 2016, and 229 fatalities. 

  3. Distracted drivers using mobile phones – caused 478 collisions in Great Britain 2016, 780 casualties, 35 fatalities

  4. Not wearing seatbelts – if you (or anyone in the car) doesn't wear a seatbelt you dramatically increase your risk of serious injury
  5. Driving under the influence of alcohol – there were 3883 convictions for drink driving incidents in Great Britain 2016, and it was a factor in 1.7% of all collisions.

Data source: Department for Transport - Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2016

During your journey

Safety advice for drivers 

Cars can kill – slow down. There were 1782 fatalities and 25,484 serious injuries in 2018 in Britain

Even if you're moving slowly, your car can kill a pedestrian or cyclist.

Slow down on roads where there are likely to be a lot of pedestrians, especially near schools and shopping centres or places where people may behave erratically, like outside clubs, bars and restaurants. Don't assume that people will stay out of your way. Drive defensively, and you could save a life. 

Don't use your mobile phone when driving

It is illegal and dangerous to use your mobile phone whilst driving – don’t take the risk. You can get 6 penalty points and a £200 fine, but worse still, you might cause a fatal accident. Find out more about driving and mobile phone use.


We attended 17 incidents involving cyclists in 2019

Watch out for bikers and cyclists – they are more vulnerable than larger vehicles.

  1. Use your indicators when turning so other road users know what you intend to do.
  2. Give others plenty of space when overtaking – and only overtake when it's safe to do so.
  3. Always check for bikers and cyclists when you open your car door, change lanes or turn. 
  4. Leave room for cyclists at traffic lights.
  5. Don't enter the advanced stop line box when the light is red – this space is for the safety of cyclists.
  6. Be aware of motorcyclists who may be weaving or filtering through traffic.

Be safe, be seen – we attend incidents involving darkness or poor visibility

Use your lights when visibility is poor (not just at night) – this helps you to see and be seen. Don’t forget to keep them clean too, build-up of dirt and grime can really reduce their effectiveness.

We attend more accidents when it's icy...

Keep your distance – stopping distances vary in different conditions. Give yourself time to think, react and slow down or stop if necessary. Remember stopping distances can be doubled on wet roads and be up to 10x times further in icy conditions.

Don't drive tired

Tired drivers can create dangerous situations for themselves and others on the road, leading to accidents, injuries and even fatalities. If you have a long journey, plan to have a break every two hours.

What if there's an accident?

Here's what to do if there is an accident or you break down.

In an emergency – advice for roadusers

Breakdowns and accidents

What should you do if you break down? 

It can be scary and stressful if your car breaks down, especially if it's on a busy road. It's good to know in advance what you should do in a breakdown: 

  • Get off the road if you can –  if it's safe to do so, try to get your vehicle off the road. 
  • Use your hazard lights – warn other vehicle users that there's a problem. Use your hazard lights as you make your way off the road, or if your vehicle is causing an obstruction. If possible, keep your sidelights on. 
  • Keep out of the road, and be seen – wear light-coloured or fluorescent clothing in daylight and reflective clothing at night or in poor visibility. Do not stand (or let anybody else stand) between your vehicle and oncoming traffic.
  • Warn others – if the road is relatively quiet, and you have one, put a warning triangle on the road at least 45 metres (147 feet) behind your vehicle on the same side of the road – but never use these on motorways.
  • If you are on the motorway – get on to the hard shoulder, and get everyone out of the car as quickly as you can. Use the passenger side doors only – and stay out of the car until help comes. It's better to be cold and wet than in a dangerous situation. Always move up the embankment away from the fast-moving traffic.

What about little ones?

There were 116 children under the age of 17 killed on Britain's roads in 2016... and 2929 injured. 

Car safety and children – keep them safe

If you're travelling with kids, keep them safe and strapped in. The law requires all children travelling in the front or rear seat of any car, van or goods vehicle must use the correct child car seat until they are either 135 cm in height or 12 years old (whichever they reach first). After this they should use an adult seat belt – it's your responsibility to make sure they do. 

Useful documents

Road safety advice for drivers

Download PDF (2,436kb)

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