This Valentine’s Day, make sure you bag yourself a second date by driving safely and sensibly. IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, has put together five top tips to help keep yourself and your loved one safe on the road.

  • First impressions count

Before you set off on your date, make sure you’ve done those weekly vehicle checks that include checking your lights, engine oil, water, electrics and tyres. Your loved one will be more impressed if they arrive in style rather than waiting for a lift home by a recovery truck.

  • Take it steady

Speed limits are a maximum, not a target, and a lower speed may be more appropriate depending on the road layout, traffic and weather conditions. Speed contributes to more than a quarter of fatal crashes in the UK – make sure you leave early enough so that you don’t have to rush to get to your destination.

  • Don’t be a loser, don’t drink and drive

Drink-driving is one of the most dangerous things a motorist can do. But despite increased awareness of the dangers, one in eight road deaths is caused by drink-related collisions. We recommend that you never drink and drive – not even after having one drink. At just below the legal limit, you are four times more likely to be involved in a road crash than if you had not had a drink. No alcohol at all is the best way to stay safe.

  • Text or talk later – leave your phone alone

Using a smartphone whilst driving reduces reaction times by up to 35%. Avoid the temptation of using your phone whilst driving by putting it on silent and placing it in your glove compartment.

  • Be patient

Being confident and assertive is a good thing in many aspects of life. But when it comes to driving, over confidence can be a killer. If you’re running late and stuck behind a slow vehicle it can be frustrating, but if in doubt, don’t overtake. Wait for a safe opportunity before you pull out.

Richard says: “It may be on Valentine’s Day that the first love of your life will feel neglected, so give your car or bike plenty of attention in the lead-up and remind it you will be back on the 15th. Remember to check your tyres for cupid’s arrows if you are driving and try to be the perfect lady or gentleman when dealing with other road users.”