Minimising Road Risk – And Taking Responsibility.

By 2020, the World Health Organization predicts, road fatalities will be the world’s third-leading cause of death. A lot of us may spend more time driving than we do with our family, on holiday, or even sleeping- though alarmingly, there is a high statistic of people falling asleep while still behind the wheel!- and we can see how our road risk profile builds up.

Self – Awareness – The First Step To Taking Responsibility
How therefore, do we minimise risk? Well, the first step is to  actually realise that risk exists. None of us are exempt from risk, even the most skilled drivers cannot guarantee that another road user will not crash into them.
Further to the above, how many of us assess our driving performance, and, can admit we have weaknesses? Surely we all must have weak areas in our driving? From knowledge of the Highway code to reversing into a parking area, to merging onto a busy Motorway, to getting stressed and angry, most of us will make some mistakes. After all, to err is human.
Once we have taken account of the above, and realised that we have indeed, a risk factor, then we can take further measures to minimise our risk. In this blog-post  i will highlight some procedures that should help drivers to take control of their responsibilities. I must admit to a bit of self  interest here though, because the safer  my fellow driver is, the safer I will be when conducting driving lessons throughout the Glasgow area!

The Driver
Ultimately, the driver is responsible for not just their driving, but also their vehicle, and complying with the laws of the country they are travelling in. Even with a hire car the driver is held to account if the vehicle is not roadworthy; this could range from tyre, lights, and road tax offences. Firstly though, let’s look at how a drivers efficiency as an operator of the vehicle is influenced by their knowledge, experience, health and attitude.
Driver Knowledge
Ignorance is seldom an excuse in the eyes of the law. Be it knowledge of a speed limit or complying with driving regulations in a foreign country, it is the drivers responsibility to be be informed and up to date. Many publications exist to help with this, such as the Highway Code for the U.K. or for driving abroad. Perhaps we should ask ourselves how up to date our knowledge is? For instance, when i am working as a driving instructor around Maryhill Rd., hardly any vehicles drive along the bus lanes, even though they only prohibit traffic at peak times in places.

Driver Experience
There is no doubt that new drivers are involved in a far greater number of road traffic accidents than those with greater experience. New drivers are often young and need to be aware that certain key factors increase their road risk, such as their social habits and peer influences. In my next blog, i will examine some of these issues.

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