Common Myths About Road Saftey
Myth 1: The car is insured, I don’t need to worry so much about my driving.
Fact: Insurance or not, nothing can replace a lost limb or rescue a crash victim from a wheelchair.
Myth 2: Crashes happen to speeding maniacs or real old drivers.
Fact: The most common crash is by an average driver who makes an error of judgment. Bad drivers simply get noticed more, because they stand out by their behavior.
Myth 3: Every new driver has to have a crash, that’s how they learn.
Fact: Many responsible people have driven accident-free for 20, 30 or more years by adopting healthy attitudes about life, which is reflected in their driving record.
Myth 4: Accidents will always happen, there’s not much one can do.
Fact: Because all drivers are human the first part of this statement is sadly true. The second, however, is a fatalistic attitude that seeks to shed responsibility. A lifestyle comprising of a balanced diet, exercise, not smoking and drinking responsibility is a recipe for healthy life. Learning safe driving techniques and practicing them is a recipe for crash-free motoring.
Myth 5: After two years you get the hang of it. I am pretty safe now.
Fact: Statistically, the first major crash happens just after coming of the probationary license, at age 19 or so. Low risk driving is a lifelong commitment to be made before every journey.
Myth 6: Driving is basically all common sense.
Fact: There is nothing wrong with applying common sense in every area of life. But when you are in an emergency there is not much time to choose the right course of action after considering all options. Certain road safety principles must be studied, stored in the brain waiting to be applied when called for. A good example is the ‘two-second-safety gap’ when following another vehicle.
Myth 7: Our roads would be safer if they introduced harsher penalties.
*Fact: There will always be lawbreakers among us, no matter how harsh the punishment. Speed cameras and radar often catch otherwise safe motorists unawares. Heavier fines may create more angry drivers, not necessarily safer ones.
Myth 8: Getting trucks, cyclists etc. off the road would make traffic safer.
Fact: This option would not make traffic safer, but faster. Tolerance towards other (slower) road users and allowing them space is the hallmark of a low-risk driver.
Myth 9: If the government spent more money on roads there would be fewer crashes.
Fact: The main cause of road crashes is human error, over 90 % to be more exact. The human operating the lethal weapon, must ultimately take responsibility.
Myth 10: If every learner driver had to practice skidding, they would better handle emergencies.
Fact: Apart from the danger to instructors, practicing skidding would achieve little. Studies in Sweden have shown that new drivers who did get skid training had more crashes afterwards than a non-trained group. Over-confidence took its toll.
There are three aspects to skidding that every driver should know:
- If the wheels lock (because of too heavy braking) and the car starts to skid, come off the brakes and reapply more gently.
- Another simple rule to follow, when in a skid, whatever your right foot is doing, stop doing it.
- Don’t over correct the steering wheel when running off the road, especially on a loose or wet road surface.
In most cases, with superior observation, intelligent braking and gentle steering a skid will be avoided.