Simple changes can have a profound effect on safety.

Motorists should swap conventional new year’s resolutions with a plan to become safer road users, according to one road safety organisation.

GEM Motoring Assist says January is a “particularly good” time to think about road safety, with the long nights and threat of bad weather colluding to make driving more treacherous.

And the organisation says drivers can also struggle with attention, particularly if they are worrying about work or post-Christmas bills.

As a result, GEM is advising drivers to think about the way in which they drive during 2019, in the hope that this will improve road safety.

Woman driving car on a snowy winter day

The company’s suggestions include spending more time planning a journey to ensure you don’t get lost and making sure you have plenty of time – a measure that GEM says will stop you rushing and making mistakes or “risky” decisions.

GEM also recommends cutting out distractions to ensure you give the road your full attention, and the firm points out that passengers, infotainment systems and mobile phones aren’t the only sources of distraction - private thoughts can take your focus away from the task in hand, too.

Woman on mobile phone whilst driving

Speed featured prominently in GEM’s suggestions, too, with the organisation reminding motorists to drive to the conditions and stay on the right side of the law. GEM also says motorists should stay on the right side of each other by pledging not to react to other drivers’ actions and instead simply leaving plenty of room.

Finally, the company reminded drivers to make sure they aren’t driving while tired. According to the organisation, around a quarter of all fatal or serious-injury crashes are related to tiredness, so drivers who feel tired should stop and take a break.

Man asleep at the wheel while driving car

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said the new year offered everyone a perfect opportunity for resolving to reduce risk on road journeys.

“We admire those who are determined to improve their fitness, commit to a month without alcohol or any other healthy plan. But if we all committed to a few minor changes in the way we use the roads, the benefits for everyone would be significant,” he said.

“It could be as simple as leaving five minutes early to keep stress levels down on journeys, refreshing your knowledge of the Highway Code or making a commitment to banish distractions on journeys. These can all be achieved with very little effort, but the effect they can have on a safer road environment is massive."

Traffic light trails on Westminster bridge after sunset