- Car Safety & Safe Driving
Car Accidents: Detriments To Be Avoided
Neglectful Behavior, Not Cars To Be Blamed
The invention of motor vehicles is one which cannot be rivalled, not even by trains and aeroplanes. The fact is; a car is a perfect middle ground between a bicycle or motorcycle on one end and an aeroplane on the other. It provides the necessary shelter, seating and storage that a motorcycle cannot provide and the affordability that an aeroplane does not provide by comparison. With that said, however, we have recorded one too many deaths ‘caused by car accidents’ which I am of the opinion, unfairly blame the vehicle instead of the behaviour or negligence of the driver or road user. I will be exploring some of these neglectful behaviours which have left many families in mourning.
Do You Know Anyone Who Has Been A Victim Of A Fatal Accident?
Inexperience And Age Of The Driver
High on my list of causes of car accidents is that of inexperience and age of the driver. It is a well know fact that when we have just acquired our drivers’ license, we are not yet at our optimal performance level. We haven’t yet mastered the roads and conditions and are yet to be tested in the field of real defensive driving. The result is a well intended young driver who is a potential hazard to road users. On the other hand, elderly people are often seen using the road and one can’t help but wonder what age is a suitable age to give up the practice. Yes they would have had years of experience, but what of their hearing and alertness? Medication also impairs judgement and the elderly are more likely to be on different types of medication. These are hazards which contribute to car accidents and by extension, road fatalities.
Speed Kills, Full Stop
Additionally, there seems to be a constant need for speed on our roadways. Speeding is one of the leading causes of road fatalities. The faster we drive is the less likely we will be to correct errors, take corners and basically control the vehicle we are driving, thereby averting accidents. The lesson is always there to be taught by virtue of news reports. However, speeding remains a main culprit of road fatalities which does not seem to be diminishing with even the best of efforts by the police.
Cellular phone usage has skyrocketed in the past two decades. The use of these cell phones while driving has also increased and has claimed many lives on the roadways as people seek to multitask, only to realize they are distracted after it is too late. As if it wasn’t bad enough that people are talking on cellular phones while driving, the insatiable desire to be up to date and socialize has also led to texting and taking photographs to include ‘selfies’ while behind the wheel. Just one look away, especially at high speed, or one distracted moment has proven fatal with the use of cellular phones while driving. Today, cellular phone usage while driving is a major cause of car accidents.
Drunk Driving is one of the very unacceptable causes of fatal car accidents which can be avoided, if only we were to stop being selfish and feeling that our cognitive abilities can beat intoxication. While it is true that some people are able to consume more alcohol than others without being intoxicated, going behind the wheel of a car is not the way to test such prowess. Many others have done this unthinkable act of driving while intoxicated for other foolish reasons and the statistics have begun to climb. What is sad is the fact that even during sobriety tests; many people still do not realize that they are dangerously drunk. People from all age group and background have fallen victim to this selfish act; this includes passengers, pedestrians and drivers.
Marijauana, Illicit Drugs And Prescription Medication
Like alcohol intoxication, some drivers also abuse other substances which include marijuana and illicit drugs which impair their judgement behind the wheels. As mentioned earlier, prescription drugs can also impair one’s judgement and cause driver error on the roads, leading to car accidents. It is never a good idea to operate a vehicle when any of these substances is in your body as the likelihood for fatal motor vehicle accidents is greatly increased. Many have learned the hard way from this fact.
Passenger Distraction And Hands Free Phone Communication
While many people believe that hands free phone conversations are a safe and acceptable alternative to driving with a cellular phone in hand, I have often cringed when driving with friends and their cellular phones ring. This brings me to the argument of having ‘hands-free’ passenger or phone distraction. The fact is: because our hands are free does not mean that our minds are free and something might be said to cause further distraction, which can lead to accidents. Even if nothing upsetting, surprising or overly interesting is said, not everyone can multitask and even those of us who claim to be pros will make errors while doing same. These forms of distraction therefore contribute to car accidents and by extension, road fatalities.
Poor Weather Conditions
The weather can also prove challenging for drivers as visibility might be affected. Likewise, the vehicle is more likely to pick up a skid in certain conditions such as snow, rain or even on a sandy road. Much of this is influenced by experience and vehicle performance, but many have paid with their lives because of the weather conditions and one’s ability. While we might not have direct influence over road conditions, vigilance is the key in avoiding accidents while driving.
Population density determines just how many road users are likely to be on the road at any given time. It would therefore be inferable that more people on the streets will equal more risk to road users and by extension more accidents. All the above mentioned characteristics are likely to be increased as a result of a high population density. While this might be out of our control, what is now needed is additional vigilance on the part of the driver and by extension, the other road users.
This leads to the other point that vehicle faults are also culprits in road accidents and fatalities, albeit not the only or even main determinants. These faults include problems in accelerating, worn tyres, and braking, lighting and steering wheel issues. One doesn’t have to think long or hard to imagine the repercussions of these faults. Naturally, a faulty vehicle and an impaired or distracted driver are double jeopardy when combined.
Play Your Part
While the government has been trying to get road fatality figures down and put measures in place to avoid same, the numbers seem to be evading us and the battle seems far from being won. It is therefore necessary for each individual to play his part and share the best practices in a bid to save a life on our roadways. The life we save while behind the wheel just might be our own.