L2 – The need for a defensive driving style

Do you want to die today?

Whilst you were watching the above video, two people died in road traffic crashes. Globally, road traffic injuries are now the leading killer of people aged between 5 and 29 years.

Much is being done to curb the carnage. Roads and vehicles are being engineered to reduce both the potential for a crash and the injuries sustained when crashes occur. And law enforcement agencies are contributing by enforcing road traffic laws that legislate careful driving. The third of “The 3 Es of road safety” is education. Governments around the world are increasingly driven to educate drivers and other road users in safer use of the roads. Your participation in this eLearning course is contributing, too.

In Britain – where How to Drive is headquartered – a picture of road safety is painted by the statistics collated through a national system of accident reporting. When a road traffic crash causing personal injury is reported to the police, a (STATS19) form is completed. Whilst it is known that a considerable proportion of non-fatal casualties aren’t known to Britain’s police forces, hospital and compensation claims data indicate a higher number of casualties than the police STATS19 data would suggest. Regardless, the data paints an illuminating picture of what is contributing to the carnage on our roads.

What do you think is the most commonly reported contributory factor in crashes?

According to British data, “driver failed to look properly” is the contributory factor that is reported most often. Whilst we may look, it appears we often fail to see other road users. The second most commonly reported contributory factor to reported crashes is “failed to judge other person’s path or speed”. In 2017, these two factors were reported by the police to have contributed to 63% of crashes.

In Qatar in the Middle East, it is believed that 51% of crashes are caused by drivers being distracted by their mobile phones. If attention is focused on the phone’s screen, it’s clear that a distracted driver will not (always) be looking properly at the road ahead.

An estimated 1.35 million people are killed on the world’s roads every year. We need to steer a safer course. Together, we all need to drive defensively in order to contribute to curbing this carnage.