Holiday getaway promps motorway safety warning from fireservice

19 July 2011

West Yorkshire firefighters have again urged drivers to take care on the motorway when they head off on their holidays this summer.

The Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA) Road Safety Day on Friday, 22 July aims to target motorway drivers and ensure they are up to speed on the basic rules of safe motoring.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) firefighters and prevention staff will be at motorway service stations to meet drivers and discuss road safety. They will be publicising the following messages:

  • Keep your distance, watch your speed, know your stopping distances and appropriately adjust your driving speed according to the conditions. Particularly around junctions, by dropping back from the vehicle in front it increases your visibility of the road ahead and enables you to anticipate and avoid dangerous situations.
  • ‘Only a fool breaks the two second rule’: Drivers are advised to stay at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front. They should watch the vehicle in front pass a landmark, such as a sign or tree. As it passes the landmark, say ‘Only a fool breaks the two second rule’. If you pass the landmark before you finish saying this sentence, you are driving dangerously close to the vehicle in front.
  • Take a break: If you are feeling drowsy, stop driving! Drink one or two cups of coffee and take a nap for about 15 minutes. Watch out for the warning signs, such as poor lane discipline, slow reactions and lack of concentration.
  • Plan your journey ahead. Do not set off on a long journey after a full day at work or if you are taking medication which would make you drowsy. Ensure you are able to rest regularly and share the driving if possible.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Craig McIntosh, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Director of Fire Safety, said: “With the six-week holidays now upon us, and more families than ever are expected to take to the motorway for their summer break, we want to stress the importance of driving safely.

“Motorways are very safe roads when used properly. However, driving on a motorway requires different skills to driving on a regular road and, because people drive faster, it gives motorists less reaction time. Because of this, it’s essential that simple steps are taken to ensure everyone stays safe.”

Sue Snoddy, chair of the West Yorkshire Safer Roads Delivery Group, said: “Speed kills. West Yorkshire road safety officers are encouraging drivers to heed the advice being given by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. Drivers should make sure that the speed they are travelling at is appropriate to the conditions, as one mistake can have devastating consequences.”

WYFRS will have activities at the following locations on Friday, 22 July:

Wetherby Services, A1(M)

1pm to 4pm

Wetherby Red Watch will join forces with Leeds City Council’s road safety staff to advise and educate drivers as they call in at Wetherby Services.

The brigade’s Seatbelt Sledge will be at the event. It simulates a 7mph impact, which in itself is catastrophic and illustrates how much worse a 30mph impact would be if the motorist was not wearing a seatbelt. A car simulator will allow members of the public to experience driving with a range of distractions and the WYFRS road safety road show unit will also attract the attention of drivers at the service station.

The public will be able to test their reactions using a speed reaction tester, provided by Leeds City Council, which calculates what their stopping distance would be if they were behind the wheel and allows them to test for themselves the link between distractions and slower reaction times.

Becky Prosser, Leeds City Council’s Road Safety Manager, said: “We are pleased to support this event which is being held at the start of the great summer getaway. Research by the Department for Transport suggests that almost 20 per cent of accidents on major roads are sleep-related and that sleep-related accidents are more likely than others to result in a fatality or serious injury. The message is clear. If you drive tired you are risking not only your own life, but also that of your friends, family and other innocent victims.

“If you’re making long journeys with children, then think carefully about ways to keep them entertained by taking books, and travel games for them to play as well as drinks and snacks for them. “

Woolley Edge Services, Southbound M1

10am to 3.30pm

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s community safety team and firefighters from Wakefield Green Watch will meet drivers who call at Woolley Edge Services to hand out safety leaflets and discuss safe motoring. The brigade’s road safety display trailer will also be used to push the road safety message.

For further information and advice about safe driving, visit


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