The Real Cause of Road Crashes

The Real Cause of Road Crashes

Road safety is a topic that most of us shrug off as boring or as common sense. However the case for re-education on road safety is very strong, particularly at this point in time. Statistics say that road crashes account for 1.3 million deaths all over the world every year. If you break this down this result to 3500 deaths daily, 150 every hour and up to three deaths on the road every hour. This number is set to rise by 67 percent over the period 2000 to 2020. In addition to that there are more than 50 million people injured on the road annually. In the UK alone there were more than 194,477 casualties reported in 2014. A more depressing fact is that the carnage seems to be affecting low and middle income countries more with an expected 83 percent increase within the next decade. The damage costs amount to about $3 trillion (USD) every year.

Despite the governments’ and our own efforts to reduce road carnage the numbers still remains stubbornly high. Perhaps the main reason for this is our own carelessness. HSE statistics also point out that 95 percent of road crashes are caused by human error. This means that only 5 percent can be attributed to mechanical failure not including worn tyres and faulty brakes as these still fall within the category of human error. This also means that majority of the accidents that occur are completely preventable if only we followed the rules. However as the saying goes, things are not always that simple, if they were then we would not have such high number of deaths on the road. There are factors that have been contributing to such carelessness on the roads many of which are well within our control.

Driver Skill

This is perhaps the least cause for road carnage since most drivers are sufficiently skilled to drive their vehicles. Once one has mastered the basic psychomotor skills involved in driving like accelerating, braking, pressing the clutch and controlling the steering wheel they are good to go. This usually does not even matter if you have been taught by a professional, a family member, a friend or even yourself. Many people find it relatively easy to navigate through the road and when crashes do occur loss of control is rarely the root cause.

Reacting to Rules

Traffic rules are there to protect us from incidences on the road and many of us understand that. Indeed many drivers understand the road rules and in fact they adhere to most of them. The problem usually is how we react to these road rules. When learning to drive many of us learnt the rules so as to pass the test and get a licence. However did we really absorb the rules and their importance on the road? The truth is you were not taught to be considerate to others and avoid feeling road rage. You were not taught on how to deal with road fatigue and for many of us you were not taught not to use your phone when on the road. All this is left for you to decide and sadly many of us make the wrong choice leading to many deaths on the road.

Context is everything

There were up to 34.5 million vehicle licensed for use in the UK as reported by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency). There as many drivers on the road and each of them has his own reason for driving at that time. This means that each of them is exposed to different pressures at that particular time. One driver may be under pressure to arrive on time maybe to catch a flight or a meeting. Another driver could be new to that particular route and thus is trying to fit in. He/she may be under pressure to drive in a particular way. The point is that each of us is dealing with a lot of issues when we are driving and so many of our mistakes are not the result of inadequate skills, they are a result of something much deeper in our society that we need to identify and address.

What really matters?

At the end of the day it is our attitudes, beliefs and values that truly affect how we behave on the road. If someone is relaxed, methodical and generally laid back then they are definitely going to drive better than an adrenaline junky.

In conclusion it is our personality and attitude on the road that need to be addressed of we are to solve the problem on our roads. It is our behaviours on the road that are the true cause of road carnage.

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