There are three ingredients for ensuring safety while on the road: safe cars, safe roads, and safe drivers. Nowadays, significant improvements have been made by car manufacturers in ensuring that the cars being driven on the road are safe. In fact, car manufacturers spend millions of dollars improving car designs just so they could be safe for the driver, his passengers and the people on the road.
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The government has likewise given so much attention to improving road safety in terms of more traffic signs and traffic lights and even traffic police just so the road could be safer for commuters and the pedestrians. Yet, little attention has been given to the third ingredient which is safe drivers.
Studies have shown that the biggest threats to road safety are the drivers themselves. In a number of studies involving driving-related accidents, negligent drivers are considered to be the primary cause of these accidents. This is actually not surprising as motorists themselves admit that they have ignored safety on the road. (Ross Rapoport) A 2003 study confirmed that about 91% of the drivers admit to engaging in risky driving behaviors within the past six months. Among the most common risky driving behaviors are 71% for speeding, 59% for eating while driving and 37% using cell phones while driving.
As they say, bad habits are difficult to break. The same is true for those who drive way beyond the speed limit. Unwary of the dangers to themselves and to other people, drivers continue to press on their gas even if they are in crowded neighborhoods and school zones. This not only places in danger the life of the pedestrians but even the driver and his passengers. Overspeeding has led to the deaths of a countless number of people in the past decades. One of the most famous cases of overspeeding was the case of Princess Diana who died in a car crash in Paris. According to newspaper reports, overspeeding and drunk-driving were the reasons for her early demise. It appeared that the driver was driving very fast at around 80mph as they attempted to escape commercial photographers who were chasing them. As the car entered a narrow tunnel along the Seine River at the Pont de l’Alma bridge, the driver lost control of the car and it slammed into a concrete support post leading to her and her male companion’s death. Subsequent investigations also revealed that the driving was not only overspending but he was also drunk. (Hasan Suroor)
Another risky driving behavior is the use of cellular phones while driving. A driver who uses his cellular phone while driving, either by making a call or answering a call or using the text messaging, is placing not only his and his passenger’s life in danger but even the pedestrians. (John Fletcher) According to research, it does not matter whether the driver is using a hands-free device when he answers his phone as the mere talking to someone while driving decreases a driver’s attentiveness to driving. The same is true if a driver reads a text message or attempts to compose a text message while driving which are also distracting. Patrick Sims, a high school senior, learned about the dangers of texting while driving the hard way. (Susan Koeppen 1) In 2006, Patrick Sims was driving a car with his girlfriend. At the time, he was texting a friend when he suddenly heard her girlfriend scream. It was too late when he realized that his car had traversed the bicycle lane and that he was about to hit a 63-year-old man. The collision changed his life as it resulted in the death of a man. But it was too late.
The same is true for those who take their snacks while driving. According to a study conducted by Brunel Univesity eating or drinking while driving has an effect on a person’s reflexes. “This strategy may be inconsequential during normal driving, but the increased crash risk is realized in the abnormal situation requiring an emergency response when the increased demands mean drivers are less able to cope.” (“Snacking while Driving Doubles Accident Risks”)
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