Monday 15 July 2019

12 vital things we need to do for the year ahead to cut road deaths

How we can all play a part in reducing tragedies over the next 1 2 months by following just a few simple guidelines

Give cyclists space
Give cyclists space

RSA expert

THIS is a good time to look at ways we can all help to further cut road deaths.

So here are 12 things to reduce road trauma for the year ahead.

1. Concentrate on the road: Because using the road is habitual we become complacent and immune to obvious risks. Every time we set a foot or wheel on the road we make many decisions. These determine whether we safely make it to our destination or not. Let's make more of an effort to concentrate on the road so we make better decisions.

2. Look after your vehicle: If you look after your vehicle it's less likely to break down or be cause a collision. At the start of every trip take a walk around your vehicle. Check for defects, tyres, lights, wipers regularly and fix them if needs be. Don't ignore a problem as it could end up costing you more to fix.

3. Give cyclists space:  Cyclists are entitled to road space and to a safe riding space. When overtaking allow 1 metre in speed zones under 50kmh and 1.5 metres in zones more than 50kmh.

4. Never, ever drink and drive: Since new penalties were introduced back in October for drink driving offences, committed between 50mg and 80mg, drivers now face an automatic ban of three months. It is simply not worth the risk. If you are planning to head out drinking, plan in advance how you are going to get home. Always be sure you are okay to drive the morning after. Remember it takes the average person roughly one hour to get rid of one unit of alcohol from the body (a unit is standard measure of spirits, glass of wine or half pint of beer).

5. Gift a lift and share the responsibility: Why not offer to gift a lift or offer a lift to an older person to the pub if living in rural Ireland? Also, never allow yourself to be driven by a buddy who has been drinking, share the responsibility.

6. Slow down and save lives: 90pc of pedestrians hit by a vehicle at 60kmh will die. Hit at 50kmh there's a 50pc chance of survival. Hit at 30kmh, 90pc will survive the collision. What a driver might consider small margins over the posted speed limit could be the difference between life and deaths for a vulnerable road users. So slow down.

7. Put the phone out of reach: The smart phone is your biggest potential distraction when driving. It won't kill you to put it away for the duration of your drive, but if you don't it could. Our advice is to switch off before you drive off.

8. Belt up: It's hard to believe we still have to urge some people to wear their seatbelt, but last year just over a quarter of all drivers and passengers killed were not wearing seatbelts (28pc).

9. Stop. Sip. Sleep if feeling tired: Don't fight tiredness when driving. Stop somewhere safe, sip a coffee and get a 15-minute nap. We will partnering with Applegreen again in 2019 to offer free cups of coffee on the Friday and Monday of bank holiday weekends. Remember, if you can't get hold of a coffee, the nap is the most important tactic.

10. Don't allow a learner drive unaccompanied: A learner permit is not a licence and if you do want to learn to drive there are strict terms and conditions. The most important is that you are accompanied by a fully qualified driver (not a novice). The new 'Clancy amendment' has given the gardai powers to seize the vehicle of an unaccompanied learner and prosecute anyone who supplies a car to such a driver.

11. Watch out for pedestrians: There was a 35pc increase in pedestrian casualties in 2018. Drivers need to slow down and keep a look out for pedestrians in the shadows or around that bend. Pedestrians can help too, especially by wearing a high visibility jacket.

12. Motorway safety: Motorways are extremely safe roads. Statistically, they are the safest roads we have. But that doesn't mean there's no danger. Keep left for normal driving and use the right-hand lane for overtaking. It goes without saying you should never walk on a motorway, no matter what the reason or urgency. Motorways are not safe places for pedestrians.

Irish Independent

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