Excessive speed

Excessive speed is a factor in one third of all accidents and collisions occurring on the road, according to recent research conducted by the OECD's Transportation Sector, which shows that speed limits are directly related to the rates of mortality and serious injury resulting from road accidents.

Excessive speed and the urban network

According to a recent research study conducted by the OECD's Transport Sector, the mistaken impression that stepping on the accelerator and increasing speed will reduce travel time is a completely false one. It has been proven that the presence of traffic lights and junctions will not permit the shortening of travel times within the urban network, even if traveling speed is increased, while the capacity of motorways in urban areas will not allow for speeds in excess 70 km/hour.

Data you should be aware of:
  • A 5% increase in the speed of a vehicle leads to a 10% increase in the number of traffic accidents and a 20% increase in the number of crashes causing death or serious injury.
  • According to an OECD study, if a vehicle moving at 50 km/hour hits a pedestrian, the probability that the pedestrian will be fatally injured reaches 80%, while if the vehicle is traveling at 30 km/hour, the corresponding risk falls to 10%.
  • It is estimated that the driver of a vehicle travelling at a speed in excess of 50 km/hour will have no chance of survival in case of a sideways collision on the driver's side, while in case of a head-on collision, the driver and passengers will have a chance of survival only if speed does not exceed 70 km/hour.
Excessive speed on trunk road network

Due to the high speeds of travel, road accidents occurring on the trunk road network have the most adverse consequences. In Greece, approximately one third of the deaths caused by road accidents are the result of accidents on the national trunk road network.

Always abide by the speed limits

Speed limits have been calculated based on many parameters that you are most probably not aware of.

However, your speed should be even lower than the speed limit, in cases where:

  • Roadworks are in progress.
  • There are pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists on the road.
  • Weather conditions are bad.
  • Lighting is bad.

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Calculating safety distances

Always drive at a speed which allows you to stop in time with a comfortable free distance in front of you. This is necessary because you must leave an adequate distance from the vehicle ahead of you, so that if it brakes unexpectedly, you are able to stop in time.

The following chart shows how speed affects the actual stopping distance, which is the sum of the thinking distance (distance the vehicle is going to travel before the driver starts to react) and the breaking distance (distance traveled while braking). Thus, a driver travelling at a speed of 112 km/hour will travel about 21 meters before he starts to step on the brakes and about another 75 meters while braking, making the total distance required to immobilize the vehicle to be about 96 meters!

Advice for better calculation of the safe distanceας
  • Select a fixed point which the vehicle in front of you is about to pass (for example a signboard or a lighting mast) and count two seconds (saying "1001", "1002"). You should pass the same fixed point exactly at that time. In case of rain, you should allow a four second distance and an even longer one, in case of icy road.
  • Remember: large vehicles (trucks), as well as motorcycles, need a greater stopping distance, so you should leave a four second distance ahead of you in these cases.

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Five rules for braking you should know

  1. Rule 1ος: Under normal conditions, the safest way to stop a vehicle is to apply the brakes promptly and calmly, and gradually increase the pressure on the brake to fully immobilize the vehicle.
  2. Rule 2ος: In case of danger, you may have to apply the brakes immediately, trying to avoid locking the wheels since this may lead to loss of the control over the vehicle.
  3. Rule 3ος: If you apply the brakes very sharply, the vehicle may skid. In this case, you should remove your foot from the brake and turn the wheel towards the direction of the skid. For example, if the rear of the vehicle skids to the right, you must promptly turn the wheel to the right to recover control.
  4. Rule 4ος: ABS. If your vehicle is equipped with an ABS system, you must follow the directions provided in the manual of your vehicle. Nevertheless, in case of emergency, apply the brakes with the necessary strength and do not release until the vehicle stops or slows to the desired speed. Remember, though, that even if the ABS ensures preservation of control over the steering wheel, it does not ensure immobilization of the vehicle within a smaller distance.
  5. Rule 5ος: Brakes are affected by water. If you have traveled through a point on the road with a lot of water, your brakes may temporarily be less effective. Test them by pressing your foot gently and repeat, driving at a low speed until they dry out.

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Use of seatbelts

DATA YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF
  • Deaths, disabilities and injuries caused by road accidents are increasing drastically all over the world. Every year 1.2 million people die in road accidents worldwide.
  • The numbers are rapidly increasing and, according to calculations of the World Health Organization, the number of deaths is expected to reach 2.4 million per year by 2020.
  • Road accidents are currently the 9th most common cause of death, in general, and the 1st cause of death regarding children and young people until 25 years' old.
  • According to data of the Ministry of Public Order, every year in Greece, there are:
    • 1,500 deaths
    • 2,400 serious injuries and
    • 20,000 minor injuries
  • It is calculated that half of those people would be saved had they fastened their seatbelt.
THE PRINCIPLE OF MOMENTUM

A vehicle in a collision is abruptly and violently brought to a halt. Passengers not wearing seatbelts will keep traveling inside the car at the same speed, crashing into the windshield or the dashboard. The momentum at which they crash is equivalent to the product of their weight by the speed at the moment of the collision. For example, if a vehicle collides at a speed of 50 km/hour, a person weighting 80 kilograms will hit on the dashboard at (50x80 = 4,000 kilos) A MOMENTUM OF FOUR TONNES! ONLY a seatbelt can save a person in such a case.

SEATBELTS ARE ALSO NECESSARY FOR BACK SEAT PASSENGERS

In case of an accident, the risk of death for the driver and the front-seat passenger, if there are passengers in the back seats not wearing seatbelts, is 5 times higher. The back-seat passengers will collide with front-seat passengers wearing seatbelts with a momentum equivalent to an elephant weighting four tonnes! Japanese researchers studied serious accident data (from 1995 to 1999) and concluded that 80% of the deaths caused to front-seat passengers could have been avoided had the back-seat passengers fastened their seatbelts.

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD THAT BEFORE?
  • "I'm not going far". In fact, this is one of the most important times to fasten your seatbelt, since most fatal road accidents take place within the urban network, at a speed not exceeding 60 kilometers per hour.
  • "I'm a good driver and I won't crash". This may be true, but there is always a chance that a not so "good" driver will crash into you...
  • "I will hold onto the steering wheel tightly". This is not possible. The power of momentum prevents it.
  • "I don't need a seatbelt because my car has an airbag". The airbag increases the effectiveness of seatbelts by 40%. However, if you are not wearing a seatbelt, the airbag may seriously injure you. Moreover, the airbag will not protect you at all in cases of side collisions.

WEAR YOUR SEATBELT
EVERY TIME
- EVEN FOR THE SHORTEST DISTANCES -

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Alcohol consumption

IMPORTANT INFORMATION YOU SHOULD KNOW
  • Any amount of alcohol in the blood affects the driving ability and reflexes of the driver. Accordingly, no one can say for sure exactly what the safe alcohol consumption limits are for a person to drive safely.
  • 1 glass of wine decreases reflexes to half, while 3 glasses of wine will diminish reflexes by 80%.
  • If you are driving with a blood alcohol level which is double the permitted limits, it is 50 times more likely that you will be involved in a fatal collision with your vehicle compared to a driver who has not consumed any alcohol at all.
  • US statistics show that 40% of all deaths due to road accidents are caused by drinking and driving.
  • According to Eurostat, 1 out of 4 accidents is due to alcohol consumption, while more than 40,000 people in the European Union die every year in road accidents caused by alcohol consumption.
Any amount of alcohol consumed is accompanied by:
  • Delay in your reflexes (double or triple response times);
  • Increase in the safe stopping distance;
  • Decreased perception of space and speed;
  • Decreased field of vision;
  • Sense of over-confidence;
  • Decreased "resistance" and inhibitions making it easier to consume even more alcohol;
The effect of alcohol on people depends on factors such as:
  • Weight
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Metabolism
  • Stress levels of the body
  • Whether the driver has eaten before drinking
  • Cumulative alcohol intake
SAFETY ADVICE
REMEMBER... PREVENTION IS EVERYTHING
  • Do not drink when you are about to drive.
  • Decide on a designated driver beforehand, so that there will be someone who will not be drinking who can take the others safely home.
  • Do not get into the car of a driver who has been drinking. Instead call a taxi to take you to your destination.
  • If you have guests at home, offer a choice of non-alcoholic beverages and remind them of the dangers alcohol poses to their safety while driving.
  • Stop offering alcohol about one and a half hours before the time you think that the party or dinner will be over and your guests will be returning home.

DON'T DRINK IF YOU ARE GOING TO DRIVE
DON'T DRIVE WHILE DRUNK

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Emergency phone numbers

Emergency phone numbers on Greek motorways

New motorways operating in Greece and those under construction have specific phone numbers that drivers may dial on their mobile phone in case of emergency.

Call these numbers only in case that:

  • You are involved in an accident;
  • You are an eye witness to an accident;
  • Your vehicle is immobilized due to engine trouble;
  • You see something dangerous on the road (fallen cargo, a truck with a flat tire, an animal etc.)
  • You become ill while driving

ATTENTION! DO NOT CALL THE EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS TO ASK FOR GENERAL INFORMATION

Attica Tollway

1024

Aegean Motorway (PATHE: Maliakos - Kleidi Section)

1866

Moreas Motorway (Korinthos - Tripoli - Kalamata Motorway)

1025

Nea Odos (PATHE: Athens-Maliakos & Schimatar -Chalkida Section)

1075

Olympia Odos (Elefsina-Korinthos-Patras National Highway)

1025

Egnatia Motorway

1077

Rion-Antirrion Bridge

26340-39010 & 39011

Note: If you are in an emergency and do not remember the number to call, just call 100.

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Emergency lane

  • Driving in the emergency lane is prohibited for all vehicles. It is intended only for use by emergency vehicles, namely National First Aid Center ambulances, the Fire Brigade and the Traffic Police.
  • Stopping in the emergency lane is only permitted in case of absolute emergency.

Generally, it is important that you are aware that driving and stopping in the emergency lane is dangerous for you and your vehicle.

Remember! One of out ten collisions is caused by vehicles stopped in the emergency lane!!

When should you stop in the emergency lane?

Only in the 3 cases below:

  • If your vehicle has broken down;
  • In case of emergency;
  • If you are stopped by the Traffic Police.
If your car breaks down
  • As soon as you realize that your car has a problem, leave the motorway using the nearest exit and, after stopping safely, call roadside assistance.
  • If you have to stop right away, move into the emergency lane and stop the vehicle with the wheels turned to the right and switch the alarm lights on.
  • Park your vehicle to the right of the emergency lane, as far as you can, and as close as possible to an emergency telephone.
  • Do not stay inside your car. Get out using the door of the front-seat passenger, climb over the guard-rail and stand behind it.
  • Never attempt to repair the damage yourself.
Calling for help
  • Use either your mobile phone to call the motorway assistance service (by dialing 1866 in the case of Attica Tollway) or the closest emergency telephone.
  • State your location clearly (if you are on Attica Tollway, look for the small green sign at the side of the road and report the number on it, so that you can be promptly located).
Waiting for help to come
  • Make sure that all passengers of the stationary vehicle get out and wait behind the guard-rail. If any person (e.g. an elderly person) cannot get out of the vehicle, they should wait in the car with their seatbelt fastened.
  • Pets must wait inside the vehicle.
Emergency

If you have been involved in a collision, if possible move your vehicle to the emergency lane and follow the directions above to call for help.

If you are stopped by the Traffic Police

Make sure that you switch on the indicator and alarm lights of your vehicle switched on, pull over and stop at the point indicated.

When not to stop on the emergency lane
  • Apart from the three cases cited above, never stop on the emergency lane e.g. to consult a road map, to see the view, to talk on the phone etc.
  • Never walk along the emergency lane.
  • Also, never stop to help another vehicle already immobilized in the emergency lane. Let the professionals intervene.
Who is allowed to drive in the emergency lane?

No vehicle, apart from emergency service vehicles, is allowed to travel in the emergency lane! Unfortunately, traffic rule violations concerning the use of the emergency lane have been committed on Attica Tollway, involving serious obstruction to the movement of the emergency service vehicles.

DO NOT FORGET

When you use the emergency lane to stop without good reason or by illegally driving on it, you obstruct the passage of emergency service vehicles, and by doing so you may hinder the rescue of fellow drivers and passengers! You or your loved ones could be in their shoes...

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Watch out for motorcyclists

Motorcyclists are as exposed and vulnerable as pedestrians, but they are in more danger due to the speeds they travel at.

Here is some advice for avoiding accidents with motorcyclists:
  • Do not drive aggressively. Motorcyclists often move between lanes, in order to avoid traffic. Even if this practice annoys you, do not take action that could intercept their course and lead to an accident.
  • Do not put pressure on motorcyclists by trying to reach traffic lights first. They may be forced to accelerate to move ahead and away from you.
  • Keep a safe distance. Always keep the proper safe distance from a motorcyclist ahead of you. He may need to dodge or apply the brakes suddenly or even, due to lack of experience, react erratically.
  • Give them the space you would give to a car. When overtaking a motorcycle, leave it as much space as you would leave to a car. The driver may, at that moment, dodge to avoid potholes or irregular surfaces.
  • Do not overtake when there is not enough space to overtake safely or when coming up to a junction.
  • Always check your mirror for motorcyclists before changing lanes or making a turn. Remember to check your mirror twice and to switch on your indicator lights any time you change lanes or make a turn. Remember that there is a blind spot in your mirror and you may not see a motorcycle moving towards you.
  • Check carefully every time you make a turn. Especially when your field of vision is obstructed by stationary trucks or other vehicles.
  • Check at intersections. Take a little more time and check carefully at intersections, since often either visibility is restricted or motorcyclists may be traveling at a high speed.
  • Motorcyclists may overtake you from both sides. So check before turning either right or left.
  • Do not throw trash or cigarettes out of the windows of your car. It may cause the motorcyclist to lose control, with tragic consequences.
  • Park safely. Always check for motorcyclists before opening the door of your car and make sure that all passengers do the same. When leaving a parking space, check carefully around you and remember that motorcycles are smaller and more difficult to detect than a car.

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New drivers

Deaths due to road accidents have increased in recent years, while permanent disabilities caused by crashes have also multiplied.

According to the available data, new drivers are more in danger of getting involved in accidents, compared to older drivers. The main cause of death of young people aged 16 to 20 years is road accidents.

The factors causing these tragedies are, among others:

  • lack of driving experience;
  • over-confidence in abilities;
  • lower perception of danger;
  • poor judgment in matters of driving and inadequate education;
  • tiredness during night hours;
  • the influence of peers or friends;
  • the tendency to show off or racing;
  • consumption of alcohol;
  • failure to wear seatbelts or helmets.

Parents have a huge responsibility to inform their children about the dangers of driving at an early age and to encourage good driving habits and responsible driving. It is extremely important for young people to understand that, due to their own mistakes or irresponsible behavior on the road, as pedestrians, passengers or drivers, they may take a life or lose their own.

Among other things, parents should:

  • Always set a good example. Parents' behavior on the road and when they are driving should be properly responsible, since children tend to imitate their parents as they grow up.
  • They should put special emphasis on zero alcohol consumption when driving or suggest other ways of getting home in cases where children do consume alcohol.
  • They should accompany their children when they are new drivers, to help them acquire more experience and learn from mistakes as well as pointing out things they may overlook.
  • They should not purchase potentially dangerous cars or motorcycles for their children. The main criterion for selecting a car for a new driver should be the maximum level of safety a vehicle can offer (braking system, ABS, airbags etc.).
  • They should teach their children not to be swayed by peer pressure into dangerous behavior.
  • They should encourage their children not to hesitate to get out of a vehicle whose driver does not follow proper driving practices.

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Aggressive driving

In the United States, approximately 1,500 people (men, women and children) on average lose their lives each year due to road accidents resulting from aggressive driving. In Greece, based on data arising from various measurements and studies, it has been ascertained that aggressive driving is one of the major causes of road accidents. The number of drivers who get annoyed and express their anger and aggression when behind the wheel is increasing. Most drivers involved in aggressive driving are men aged 18 to 26. However, this problem can be observed in drivers (men or women) regardless of age, under certain circumstances or when in a bad temper.

SAFETY ADVICE

Even if there are no techniques which can protect you completely, there are three basic principles that can seriously help you in difficult circumstances.

  • Do not provoke others. If you are in a lane and the driver behind you is trying to overtake, let him. Even if you are driving properly at the maximum permitted speed, move to the adjacent lane and let him pass.
  • Avoid rude gestures. Even shaking your head as a sign of deprecation may annoy another driver. Always use your indicators in good time if you want to change lanes. Do not use your horn unless absolutely necessary.
  • Do not get involved. There will be no dispute, if only one person is pushing for an argument and the other does not respond. You can protect yourself by refusing to get angry with another driver.
  • Be adaptable. The most important thing you can do to avoid aggressive driving is to change the way you perceive traveling by car. It is a fact that, for many people, driving can easily be turned into a race. To avoid stress and hurrying, save more time for your journeys by car. Do not wait till the last moment to set off.

All of us can contribute to the reduction and minimization of aggressive driving. There will be fewer victims if more and more drivers understand the basic principles for dealing with aggressive driving:
Do not provoke, do not get involved, be adaptable.

REMEMBER - THE ROAD
BELONGS TO ALL OF US

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Safety advice for driving in tunnels

Experience has shown that road accidents taking place in tunnels may turn into disasters more easily than those happening on open road. It is, therefore, necessary to minimize the possibilities of accidents. So, when driving inside tunnels, make sure that:

  • You have your lights turned on.
  • You do not violate the electronic message signs on the lanes. These electronic message signs are placed at the entrance to the tunnel and inside it, above each lane, showing whether the lane is operational. If you realize that the lane you are driving on is not in use, you should change lanes as soon as possible.
  • Comply with the fixed or variable speed limits. Variable speed limits inside a tunnel show the permitted speed limit for the drivers, as determined according to traffic and prevailing conditions. If the variable speed limit sign is turned off, the speed limits prescribed by the fixed signs apply.
  • Keep to safe distances.
  • Do not change lanes without reason.
  • Leave at least five meters distance from the vehicle in front of you, in case you need to stop your vehicle inside the tunnel.
  • Switch off your engine if you have to stay inside a tunnel for an extended period of time.
  • In the case of a serious accident inside a tunnel, leave your vehicle and go to the nearest exist on foot.

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Weather conditions

Losing control of the car and skidding in all directions is certainly not the best thing that can happen while driving.

Since weather conditions greatly affect our road safety, we should be aware of the weather conditions and do everything we can to decrease the possibility of an accident.

Preparation for the winter months
  • Make sure that your tires are appropriate for the climate of the area you live in and in good condition.
  • Make sure that the battery of your car is adequately charged (a mechanic can check it), since the requirements of your engine are greater in low temperatures.
  • Make sure that you have the proper chains for your tires in the car.
  • Regularly measure your tire pressure and have in mind that it falls as the temperature falls. Never reduce the pressure in your tires to try to achieve better braking on snow, ice or mud.
  • Make sure that your windshield wipers are in good condition and that there is enough anti-freeze for the windshield.
  • Make sure that your car's radiator contains an adequate quantity of anti-freeze.
Driving advice during snow fall
  • Choose to drive when it is snowing only if absolutely necessary. If it is not, prefer to stay at home, avoiding any unnecessary and potentially dangerous journeys.
  • If you do drive when it is snowing, pay attention to the road signs that inform you, through electronic messages, about the condition of the road surface and any problems ahead of you.
  • Turn on the car's fog lamps to ensure good visibility and to allow others see you.
  • Reduce speed. Speed is the number one factor contributing to accidents under such conditions. The anti-lock and anti-spin systems will not help you if you are traveling at high speed.
  • Be alert. It is not enough to look straight ahead. You must be alert for potential patches of ice and double the safe distance from the vehicle in front of you.
  • Do not apply the brakes suddenly, do not accelerate suddenly and do not turn suddenly. You should be making very slow and gentle manoeuvres.
  • If you need to slow down, try doing so gradually by changing down through the gears (from 4th to 3rd to 2nd etc.).
  • If you absolutely must apply the brakes, apply pressure to the brake pedal very gently and gradually. If you feel your vehicle starting to skid, release the accelerator and the brakes and put the car into neutral. If the rear wheels are skidding, turn the steering wheel gently in the direction you want to go. If front wheels are skidding, avoid turning the steering wheel until the vehicle speed has reduced sufficiently and the vehicle has re-acquired traction on the ground.
  • Put snow chains on your vehicle when necessary.

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Overtiredness - Drowsiness

How many road accidents are due to overtiredness or drowsiness? The data reported by the Traffic Police tends to underestimate the problem of drowsiness or overtiredness as a cause of road accidents, because it is difficult to document. According to Traffic Police reports, approximately 1% of all accidents and 3% of the fatal accidents are caused by drivers having fallen asleep while driving.

Which categories of drivers may feel drowsy while driving?

According to research, the following categories are most at risk:

  • Young drivers
  • Men
  • Persons who work long hours
  • Persons who work rotating shifts
  • Persons who have consumed alcohol or other substances
  • Persons suffering from undiagnosed sleep disorders

However, all drivers are at risk under certain circumstances, e.g. when driving for long distances without a break.

What are the warning signs of overtiredness?

Failure to remember the last few kilometers. Thoughts without cohesion, difficulty in focusing attention. Difficulty in keeping eyes open or head upright. Repeated yawning. Leaving the traffic lane you are traveling in without reason.

What can you do to avoid drowsiness while driving?

Make sure that you sleep well at night, travel with other people, plan short breaks at regular intervals, avoid alcohol and other drugs which may affect you, seek medical assistance if you suspect that you suffer from a sleep disorder.

What must you do if you develop drowsiness while driving?

Recognize the early signs of tiredness, find a safe place to stop, get a nap for 20-40 minutes, drink coffee.

If you are planning a long journey with the car:
  • Sleep well the night before. Plan to drive during the hours you are usually alert and spend the night somewhere.
  • Avoid driving during hours that people usually feel sleepy due to their circadian rhythms. These hours are usually early in the afternoon (between 15:00 and 16:00) and from midnight to 6 o'clock in the morning.
  • If you have passengers in the car, talk to them. This will help you stay awake and they will be able to tell you whether you are showing signs of drowsiness.
  • Plan breaks every two hours. Take a nap, stretch your limbs, walk, or do some exercises before getting back behind the wheel.
  • Stop right away if you feel drowsiness coming on.
INEFFECTIVE TRICKS

Do not rely on opening the window, the coolness of the air conditioning or loud music. They won't keep you alert for long.

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Maintenance of vehicles - tires

In addition to the scheduled vehicle maintenance checks, drivers should take care to perform regular visual inspections on their vehicle.

Level of fluids
  • The cooling system. If you observe any significant rapid drop in the fluid level, this means a leak or a serious problem in the engine (cylinder fractures etc.). Never drive without any fluid in the cooling system. You will cause overheating of the engine and, eventually, permanent damage.
  • Windshield wiper fluids. To clean the windshield more effectively, add a special cleaning product to the water. These types of product also diminish the risk of the water freezing during winter. In the summer, a small amount of diluant helps to remove dead insects from the windshield.
  • The batteries. The most recent types of batteries are hermetically sealed and need no maintenance. For other types, you must check the level of each cell. If necessary, add distilled water (to cover the battery plates). If one or more cells regularly dry out, this means that the battery is in bad condition. If the battery poles have oxidized, proper contact will not be made. Disconnect the cables from the battery according to the manufacturer's directions, rub the battery and cable pins, apply a lubricant to them and, then, reconnect the poles.
  • The brake fluid level. The brake fluid is contained in a closed circuit and practically speaking, the level should never fall. If you observe any significant decrease in the tank, consult a mechanic promptly, because the proper functioning of the brakes is the major factor ensuring your safety.
  • The engine oil level. A marginal reduction in the level is normal (as long as the oil gauge reading is at the proper level, i.e. between the maximum and the minimum indicated). If you notice a greater reduction, top up the oil. If the level falls often, consult a mechanic.
Checking the tires

Car tires play an important role in keeping your vehicle on course, since it is the only point of contact between the road and your vehicle. Accordingly, their good condition and proper pressure are important.

  • Modern tires have wear bars (or wear indicators) which are raised features located at the bottom of the tread grooves which indicate that the tire is nearing its wear limit. These wear indicators are identified by the initials TWI or an arrow on the sidewall. You should know that the legal limit of 1.6 mm is actually the minimum acceptable limit for safety reasons.
  • You should not drive a vehicle with tires which have distorted or torn sidewalls, because this is highly dangerous. The risk of bursting or deflation is great. Sidewalls may be damaged during a collision with the sidewalk.
  • The wrong balancing of a wheel will cause vibrations to the steering wheel when the vehicle is traveling at a certain speed or above. This phenomenon, apart from being unpleasant, may damage the steering system.
  • For every type of vehicle and every type of tire, the manufacturer of the tire and the vehicle designer set two basic pressure levels for the air within the tire: one for regular use and one for travel at maximum load.
  • Any decrease in the pressure inside one or more tires will throw the vehicle off balance. However, you may not notice this problem in daily use. For this reason, you should check your tires frequently:
    • A visual inspection of all four wheels before getting into the car will allow you to notice serious anomalies.
    • Checking the pressure on a monthly basis using a control pressure gauge enables you to confirm the proper pressure level.
    • Do not forget to check the spare wheel and inflate it to the maximum possible pressure. This way, you will be able to relieve the pressure, if necessary, if you have to replace a wheel.
Lights and fuses
  • Any light bulb is subject to wear over time and may burn out at any time. It is relatively easy to identify, while driving, any malfunction in the indicator lights or low or high beam headlights, but it is more difficult to identify malfunctions in the lights. Accordingly, you must check them while your car is stationary. If you are alone, all you have to do is to successively turn on the various lights of your vehicle and make a complete tour around it. As far as brake lights are concerned, position your vehicle with the rear end facing a reflective surface (e.g. a wall) and apply the brakes.
  • Light bulbs and electrical components (windshield wipers, ventilation, de-misting mechanism etc.) are protected from possible short-circuit by fuses, grouped in a box under the control panel (dashboard) or in the engine compartment (under the hood). In case of failure of a group of lights or any component, first try to determine the cause by checking the respective fuse. The position, the list and the voltage of each fuse will be recorded in the vehicle owner's manual. Always carry some spare fuses with you.

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Influence of drugs

People taking pharmaceutical drugs which might affect their driving abiliity should take extra care or even avoid driving. The main drug categories that have been proven to affect driving ability are as follows:

  • Antihistamines (taken to combat allergies, bronchial asthma);
  • Antiemetics (taken to combat nausea and vomiting etc. which cause, among other things, drowsiness and inability to concentrate).
  • Remedies for hypertension (taken to combat high blood pressure, which may have serious side effects such as vertigo, fainting, tiredness, drowsiness etc.)
  • Antidiabetics (such as insulin and other similar substances, which may cause symptoms of hypoglycaemia, with consequences for driving).
  • Antipsychotics (taken for treatment of mental conditions ? may be dangerous for driving).
  • Antiepileptic drugs (can seriously affect driving; for that reason, driving should be given up after the first epileptic crisis until the doctor suggests otherwise); and
  • Anaesthetics (even if you have been subjected to a minor operation/ microsurgery, you should not drive at least for the first 24 hours afterwards).

Given that any drug or medical treatment may present side effects which reduce and affect driving ability, you should consult your doctor, and only your doctor, when taking any medication, in order that you can ensure that you are safe to drive.

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Mobile phones

Driving is a complex activity. Every 1.6 kilometers, the driver must make about 20 decisions, while he may have less than half a second to avoid a collision. Based on these data, any delay in the processing of the visual information collected by the brain may have catastrophic consequences.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION YOU SHOULD KNOW

Researchers at the Transport Research Laboratory in the UK have examined the effect that mobile phones have on drivers' responses using a special driving simulator.

The results of the research, as far as drivers holding their mobile phones in their hand, έδειξ are concerned, showed the following:

  • Drivers holding a mobile phone in their hand had a response time 30% better than those with alcohol levels in their blood slightly higher than the permitted levels.
  • Drivers talking on a mobile phone in their hand need half a second more time to react to anything happening suddenly on the road compared to those driving without using a mobile phone. Half a second means that a vehicle travelling at 110 km/hours needs 14 meters extra stopping distance.
  • The drivers' response time was 50% slower when talking on the phone compared to when driving normally.

The results of the research as far as drivers using hands-free devices are concerned were as follows:

  • Any talking on the phone distracts attention from driving. Result: the risk of crashing when talking on the phone was four times higher than normal, regardless of whether the drivers used a hands-free device or not. This happens because the brain of a person talking on the phone processes the visual information it collects at a slower pace. Another interesting finding was that, when the driver talks to a passenger in the car or listens to music on the radio or other device, his driving ability is not affected.
  • Using a hands-free device for talking on the phone while driving causes increased anger responses and reduces the driver's memory of what he has seen on the road.

REMEMBER... PREVENTION IS EVERYTHING

SAFETY ADVICE
  • Before driving, set your mobile to silent mode and put it inside a bag or a pocket, to avoid the temptation to answer calls.
  • Check your calls and messages when you arrive at your destination.
  • Tell your friends and relatives that you will not answer the phone while driving.
  • If it is absolutely necessary for you to talk, pull over and stop your vehicle at a safe place to do so.
  • Do not text/ read messages or play games on the mobile phone while driving. This has proven to be even more dangerous than talking.
  • The role of the person calling you is also important. If you call someone and realize that they are driving, tell them that you will call them back later and hang up the phone right away.

TURN OFF YOUR MOBILE PHONE WHILE DRIVING

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