Safety outdoors

Road safety

Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service attends road traffic accidents on the county's roads. We aim to contribute to raising road safety awareness and have a positive impact on the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads.

Every year we attend hundreds of road traffic collisions, rescuing drivers and their passengers and providing emergency first aid and trauma care.

Road traffic collisions can be devastating, not only to those involved, but to their friends and loved ones.

We want you to be safe when driving around the area, so follow the advice below to reduce the risk of being involved in a road traffic collision.

Additionally, during Road Safety Week (November 19 to 25), we are sharing daily updates to help keep you and other road users safe:


Road Safety Week 2023: daily updates

Mindful Monday

This week is Road Safety Week. For the next seven days, we will be sharing posts about safe road usage and making sure your vehicle is safe - especially throughout these upcoming winter months.

Mindful Monday is all about being mindful of emergency services vehicles - and asking yourself the following questions: 

  • by parking here, could I block access for a fire engine or ambulance to pass?
  • how do I react if an emergency services vehicle approaches under blue lights and sirens?

This helpful video will show you how we would like you react in various situations, without putting yourself in harm's way.

Tyres Tuesday

Tyres are an important part of your vehicle.  They help us stay on the road in wet and icy conditions while also assisting in us stopping effectively.  When was the last time you checked the condition of your tyres?

Having properly inflated tyres not only ensures their effectiveness but also gives you the best fuel economy for your vehicle. Low tyre pressure can cost you in more way than one.

Visually inspect your tyres. Is there any objects that shouldn’t be there, any bulges, any loose tread? If so, it could be time to have them repaired or replaced.

Finally, check your tread depth using the 20p method.  The UK legal limit is 1.6mm. Use a 20p or a tread depth gauge and make sure your tyres are legal.

For more information, view this educational video.

Windscreen and Wipers Wednesday

Visibility is vitally important to safe driving.

Give yourself plenty of time to fully defrost and defog your windows before you start your journey. Never leave your vehicle unattended with keys in.

While you are waiting for your vehicle to defrost or defog, use this time to check the condition of your windscreen wipers; if the rubber looks loose or worn then consider replacements. 

Finally, ensure you have plenty of screen washer fluid to the correct concentration. The right concentration will help prevent your washer jets from freezing in especially cold conditions and efficiently clean your windscreen.

Take Your Time Thursday

Today's road safety theme is about being prepared for winter driving.

Plan for journeys to take longer than usual or avoid the journey altogether if possible. Adverse weather conditions mean that greater care, slower speeds and increased attention are needed when driving. This increase in concentration may require you to take more breaks than usual.

Plan for the worst.  Poor conditions has seen drivers stuck in vehicles overnight before being recovered.  Ensure you have warm clothing food and water available.

Ideally, fully charge your phone before setting off; as an alternative have a charger in the car or keep a power bank in your emergency kit.

Finally, What3Words is a great app in locating where you are if you do end up requiring assistance.

Flooding Friday

The last few weeks have seen us through various storms, some which have seen us rescuing persons from vehicles that have entered flooded sections of road.

Don’t drive through flood water where you are uncertain of the depth or the capability of your vehicle. Where possible, safely find an alternative route.

This is especially so for flowing water, as the unpredictability of the flow can easily sweep a vehicle away without warning.

If it is safe to pass through the water, test your brakes operate (without causing a hazard to other road users) after passing through and visually inspect your vehicle to ensure it is safe to carry on your journey.

Be Seen Saturday

Dark mornings and nights mean all road users - not just drivers - need to be visible. 

Motorists need to ensure that you have fully working lights before starting your journey. Make sure bulbs are to manufacturers recommendation as not to impair visibility for oncoming drivers if lights are overly powerful. 

As a pedestrian, cyclist or horse rider, high visibility and reflective clothing will ensure drivers, especially those in larger vehicles, are able to see you sooner.

Be courteous to other road users. As drivers, it is our responsibility to act in a safe and courteous manner towards other more vulnerable road users like cyclists and horse riders. Slow down, provide adequate distance to pass and indicate to warn other drivers behind that you are passing.

Stay Safe Sunday

Our final post for Road Safety Week is around working towards our road safety future vision.

Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service, as part of the Cumbria Road Safety Partnership, is working towards Vision Zero. By 2040, we aim to have zero road deaths on Cumbrian roads.

Through preventative work we aim to educate road users on the devastating effects road traffic collisions can have not only on the persons directly involved but also on families and the wider community.

This final video highlights the reality of why each death isn't just another number to us. It’s a family member, a friend, a colleague,  a member of your community.

Road Awareness Training

Road Awareness Training is an effective education package that is designed to be delivered at the final school year (Year 11) before pupils are allowed to drive on the roads. This package is to raise their awareness of the dangers on the roads and what the effects of road traffic collisions and of the consequences to themselves and to others if they cause or are involved in a collision. This is a hard hitting programme that does show graphic accounts of road collisions.

The county not only has some of the most scenic drives in the country it also has some of the most potentially lethal with Cumbria having one of the worst accident records per head of population in the UK. The Road Awareness Training (RAT) Programme is an inter-agency programme with Capita's Road Safety Department and vehicle road recovery companies.

The purpose of the programme is to educate younger people of the dangers on the road and the consequences when something goes wrong.

Cumbria has the second highest accident rate for seventeen to twenty one year olds in England. By addressing the dangers to pupils before they get on the road, and in their first year of driving, it is hoped to significantly reduce accidents in Cumbria and make the roads safer for everyone.

If you are a teacher and would like to arrange a visit or discuss the programmes please contact your nearest fire station who will be happy to arrange a visit or phone freephone 0800 358 4777.

Tyre Safety

Whatever you're driving, the condition of your tyres is critical for your safety as they're the only part of your vehicle in contact with the road. 


  • Check your tyre pressures from cold at least once a week using an accurate gauge.
  • Inflate tyres to the pressure recommended in the manufacturer's handbook.
  • Inspect tyres for cuts, bulges, uneven wear or objects embedded in the tread.
  • Check that your tread depth is not below the legal minimum of 1mm (for bikes over 50cc)
  • If your rims are cracked or bent they should be replaced immediately.
  • Replace old or damaged valve stems.
  • Select the correct type of tyre for your machine and riding style.
  • Check that both tyres fitted to the bike are made by the same manufacturer and have the same tread pattern.
  • Make sure that your tyre has been fitted the right way round by checking the directional arrows on the sidewall.
  • When replacing tube type tyres always use a new inner tube.
  • Make sure your tyre/wheel assembly is balanced correctly.
  • Use dust caps to keep dirt away from the valve core and to act as a secondary air seal.
  • Keep oil and grease off your tyres using detergent if necessary.
  • If you are unsure on any aspect of tyre pressure or tyre condition take your motorcycle to an approved fitting centre and speak to a qualified professional.


Whatever you're driving, the condition of your tyres is critical for your safety as they're the only part of your vehicle in contact with the road.  Because your tyres play such a vital role, there are some very important and specific legal requirements relating to their condition and maintenance:

  • Tyres must be fit for purpose and be free from any defects which might damage the road or endanger any person.
  • Tyres must be correctly inflated to the vehicle and tyre manufacturer's recommended pressure.
  • Be compatible with the types of tyres fitted to the other wheels
  • Not have any lumps, bulges or tears caused by separation or partial failure of the structure.
  • Not have a cut or tear in excess of 25mm or 10% of the sectional width of the tyre, whichever is the greater, and which is deep enough to reach the ply or cord.
  • Not have any part of the ply or cord exposed.
  • Car tyres should have a minimum of 1.6mm throughout a continuous band in the centre 3/4 of the tread and around the entire circumference, however we recommend you have at least 3mm.


  • Use a reliable and accurate pressure gauge to check the pressure of van tyres at least once a month or before a long trip.
  • Check the pressure in all tyres not forgetting to check any spare tyre(s) as well.
  • Tyre pressure should be checked against the vehicle manufacturer's recommended operating pressures for the load being carried.
  • Check the pressure when tyres are cold or when the vehicle has travelled less than two miles.
  • When checking pressures, give the rest of the tyre a thorough visual inspection. Remove any stones and other objects embedded in the tread. Look out for any cuts, lumps or bulges.
  • If you are unsure on any aspect of tyre pressure or tyre condition take your vehicle to an approved fitting centre and speak to the experts.

Seatbelt Safety

The facts

  • In a crash you're twice as likely to die if you don't wear a seatbelt.
  • Drivers and passengers aged 17-34 have the lowest seatbelt-wearing rates combined with the highest accident rate.
  • There is evidence that people are less likely to use seatbelts on short or familiar journeys - this puts them at serious risk of injury in a crash.

The law

  • Drivers and passengers who fail to wear seatbelts in the front and back of vehicles are breaking the law.
  • Drivers caught without a seatbelt face on-the-spot fines of £100. If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500.
  • Adults travelling in the rear of a car must also use seatbelts, if they're fitted. It's the responsibility of the adult passenger (not the driver) to make sure that they are using the seatbelt.

Children in cars

You must make sure that any children in the vehicle you're driving are:

  • In the correct car seat for their height or weight until they reach 135 centimetres tall or their 12th birthday, whichever is first.
  • Wearing a seat belt if they're 12 or 13 years old, or younger and over 135cm tall.
  • You can be fined up to £500 if a child under 14 isn't in the correct car seat or wearing a seat belt while you're driving.
  • Children under the age of 14, travelling in the rear of a car that has appropriate restraints, must belt up. ' It is the responsibility of the driver to make sure children under 14 years of age are wearing their seatbelts...once 14 years old it is up to the passenger to take responsibility!

Vehicle Checks

Oil - Make sure you check your oil before any long journey
Washer Fluid - Always make sure you windscreen washer fluid is topped up
Engine Coolant - Always ensure you're engine coolant is at the correct level (anti-freeze) please refer to product guidelines for correct amount.
Tyres - Always make sure your tread depth is above 1.6mm, we recommend a minimum of 3mm
Light - Make sure you check all operating lights before any journey.
Fuel - Make sure you have enough fuel to reach you destination.