A serious road accident can often have tragic consequences, leading to injury or loss of life. The reality is that most accidents are caused by mistakes that can easily be avoided.

It’s important to focus on your driving at all times and to avoid making costly errors. Here are the top mistakes that can lead to the most serious road accidents:

Driving too fast

We all know that speed can be a killer, with the consequences of an accident being heightened when a car is travelling at speed. Some estimates suggest that a pedestrian is 9 times more likely to be killed, when hit by a car travelling at 30 miles per hour, than would be the case with a car travelling at 20 miles per hour.

It’s important that you should adhere to speed limits, even when the reasons for a low speed limit aren’t necessarily clear to you. Low speed limits are often put in place around schools, for example, in order to protect both children and drivers.

Failing to leave a gap

Many motorways accidents, in particular, are caused by vehicles that are simply too close together. When the speed of your car increases, so does the amount of space that’s required in order to bring it to a halt.

If you’re driving too close to the vehicle in front, then you’ll find that it’s impossible to stop in situations where they are forced to break suddenly. It’s worth bearing in mind that it’s not always easy to predict the behaviour of other drivers.

Ignoring weather conditions

Weather conditions can have a dramatic impact on how difficult it is to drive. Reduced visibility, caused by fog or rain, makes it that much harder for you to identify nearby hazards.

Numerous serious accidents have been caused by cars sliding on icy roads, or by skidding in a variety of weather conditions. Depending upon the specific conditions, you may find that your stopping distances will increase considerably. You also need to remember that other drivers will find it more difficult to drive in such situations too.

As a general rule, it makes sense to drive with caution, when the weather conditions dictate that you can’t drive safely at normal speeds.

Ignoring other road users

Although it might be nice to have the roads to ourselves, the reality is that we share them with other users. Some people are particularly exposed when they are on the roads, with cyclists and motorcycle riders being particularly vulnerable.

You may not always think to look out for users of smaller vehicles, but you need to be aware that collisions can often be fatal. A cyclist, for example, has very little protection.

It’s just as important, of course, to look out for larger vehicles. Lorries will often need more space to turn at roundabouts and other junctions, while tractors and other slow moving vehicles need to be given suitable consideration. If you’re involved in an accident with a large vehicle, then it’s likely that you will put yourself in real danger.

A failure to pay attention

From the moment that you apply for your provisional insurance and start taking driving lessons, you will hear more experienced drivers telling you about the need to pay attention to your surroundings. This is sound advice and is of critical importance.

From children unexpectedly stepping off the kerb, to another driver behaving erratically, you’ll face many hazards during the course of your driving career. You can’t always control what other people do, but you can ensure that you drive in a safe manner.

It’s especially important that you should avoid being distracted by music, passengers, mobile phones or other in-car elements. Your primary role is to drive the vehicle safely.