Getting involved in a road accident is the last thing any motorist would want to experience, yet every day a number of people sustain injuries and even lose their lives on the road. What’s striking is that most of these road accidents and deaths were highly preventable. And the first step to avoiding them? By being aware of the risks on the road.
- Drink driving
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious crime in most states, and understandably so. Alcohol reduces one’s reflexes, affects motor skills, and impairs judgment, vision and memory. Simply put, alcohol and driving are a bad combination. Despite this, most drivers still get behind the wheel after having one drink too many, convinced they are still capable of driving home safely. This attitude has been proven fatal, causing thousands of deaths each year.
What you can do: It’s simple—don’t drink and drive. If you’re planning to go out for a drink, know your limits, or better yet have a designated driver whom you can rely to be sober throughout the day or night.
- Vehicle equipment failure
While car manufacturers today have invested in extensive research and development to produce safe vehicles, a number of cases point to vehicle equipment failure, such as tyre blowouts and brake issues, as the cause of accidents. It can also be recalled that in 2010 several Toyota vehicles were reported to have various safety defects, particularly unintended acceleration, that led to multiple deaths and a massive recall by the Japanese automaker.
What you can do: Equipment failures can be virtually eliminated with regular maintenance and checkups by trained professionals. Doing a once-over every time you hit the road, such as inspecting the car tyres for punctures and improper inflation, checking the brakes, and ensuring lights are working properly, can also go a long way to preventing accidents on the road.
- Distracted driving
Talking on the phone, sending a text message, eating—these are seemingly harmless activities but can be fatal once you add driving to the equation. Time and again, authorities have repeated that doing anything other than focusing your attention on the road can increase the risk of a crash. Yet despite these warnings, many continue to allow their attention to be diverted, thinking this is now the era of multitasking.
What you can do: To minimize the risk of getting distracted while driving, try to put your phone on silent, and postpone any discussion or conversation with your passengers until you reach your destination.
Speeding is still one of the major causes of fatal road accidents, claiming more than 10,000 lives per year. There are many reasons why people speed up, from beating the red light, trying to race with another vehicle, to simply wanting to experience the thrill of a fast ride. Yet no matter the reason, speed kills. The faster you drive, the slower your reaction time for preventing auto accidents, and the greater the impact of the collision.
What to do: No matter how tempting it is to speed up, always try to drive within safe limits. Also never attempt to challenge speeding drivers as this could create a dangerous situation and even harm others on the road.
Various initiatives have been taken both by the private and public sectors to reduce and prevent car crashes. But we all have a role to play to ensuring every road is a safe environment for everyone, and it starts by educating ourselves with the various driving habits that need to be stopped.