Guide to Making Canadian Roads Safer for Everyone
According to the United Nations’ report, about 1.2 million people die globally each year because of road injuries and more than 30 million are injured or impaired for life. There are plenty of reasons for road accidents. Sorting the reasons based on origin gives two broad groups of reasons:
- Environmental Factors
- Personnel Factors
These factors not only affect the driver but also have an impact on the pedestrians and other vulnerable sections as well. In order to become a responsible road user, we need to understand these factors.
Environmental Factors: Road infrastructure and weather conditions are the two major environmental factors responsible for road accidents. Road infrastructure means the conditions of the road, the pavements, proper lighting conditions and barricading, and road markers. Expressways are generally equipped with advanced infrastructure. The other factor, that can cause accidents, is the weather. On a rainy day, it is advised to drive cautiously as the roads become slippery. The same is true with snowfall. On a foggy night, it is wise to use fog lamps and drive slow. With visibility being impaired because of weather conditions, it is advised to be more cautious when the weather is not favorable.
These environmental factors are not controlled by the user. Therefore it is the user’s responsibility to drive with utmost care and concern for the other users as well. As far as, the road infrastructure is concerned, the authorities provide with education/training to the drivers on how to drive responsibly. There are policies and legislation enforced to make sure that the user follows road safety. High-end technology is being used by the agencies to monitor user behavior on the road.
Personnel Factors: There are plenty of personnel factors responsible for road crashes. Some of them are listed as below:
- Seat Belt Usage: In a majority of the cases reported the driver is found to be not using a seat belt or a child restraint. Seat belts are put in to protect against any fatal injury that may incur during the impact. Using a seat belt is in favor of the driver. Wearing a seat belt for the sake of law shouldn’t be the perspective. Rather, it should be worn for personal safety and wellbeing.
- Wear Helmet: For Motorbike users, wearing a helmet at all times is all the more crucial. Helmets protect against any head injury. It is wiser to wear other safety gears like pads and gloves for added protection. The Motorcyclists fall under the vulnerable category of users as they are more prone to fatal injuries if met with an accident.
- Driving Aggressively: Aggressive driving is another behavioral fault found to be responsible for road accidents. Most of the drivers between the age of 18 to 35 are found guilty of aggressive driving. It may be under the impression of alcohol or other drugs or simply a behavioral instinct. Almost all of the cases reported result in either deaths or fatal injuries of the driver and other persons in the vehicle.
- Impaired Driving: Driving impaired by alcohol, or any other drugs or by fatigue is definitely an invitation to accidents. All of these impair your sensory system, delaying the response time. By the time a driver makes a decision on how to avoid an accident, it is probably too late. It is wiser to use public transport when under the effect of any drugs or fatigue.
- Distracted Driving: Distractions are very common while driving. Focusing on the road is all the more important with the increasing pace of development. When there are environmental factors at work, distractions are even more common and the risk of accident increases. Jeffrey Preszler, from Preszler Law Firm, shows that in a rear-end accident, Ontario law starts with the presumption that the rear driver was responsible. It is best not to drive in case one is easily distracted on road.
- Engineering Of The Vehicle: The safety features of the vehicle may save one from fatal injuries when met with an accident. ABS, airbags, harness, and traction control are the commonly featured safety measures adopted by most of the manufacturers. Knowing these before buying a vehicle can help save a life. These features are included to make sure that all the passengers in a vehicle are safe at all times, no matter what they may face on road. Mistaking these safety features with the robustness of the vehicle should be avoided. These are to protect against injuries under normal conditions.
Knowing these factors and understanding how they affect our safety on road and that of others too will make our roads safer for everyone. Ignoring even one of these factors can invite a threat to life.