Queensland’s share the road campaign

October 14, 2012 at 11:32 am | Posted in GHS | 5 Comments
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In the previous post we’ve focused on things that drivers can do to prevent getting into accidents with cyclists. However, this does not mean that we place the blame and responsibility just on the driver, we are aware that there are cyclists out there who don’t follow the road rules or think they don’t apply to them. A way to change the attitudes and behaviors of both drivers and cyclists is by making them equally accountable for their actions.

This is an approach that has been adopted by the Queensland government’s Department of Transport and Main Roads. They have created the Share the road campaign which seeks to educate the public about how cyclists and motorists can share the road responsibly. By doing this they hope to improve road safety for cyclists and increase the number of cyclists in Queensland.

Below are two posters that have been used widely in the campaign:

Campaign poster aimed at cyclists about the importance of following road rules

Another campaign poster, this time directed at drivers so that they give cyclists enough space on the road

As you can tell from the posters above, the Safe the road campaign is not trying to shift all the blame on to one group of road users and I think this is what makes it effective as it acknowledges that cyclists and motorists both have a part to play in keeping our roads safe.

I think this represents what we are trying to achieve with our campaign which is to make road safety everybody’s responsibility rather than making it about one group or individual. I think viewing it this way will mean that more people can feel empowered and motivated to change the way they think and act on the road.

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Sharing the road with cyclists

October 14, 2012 at 12:21 am | Posted in GHS | 2 Comments
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Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the road that drivers do.

In particular, drivers need to be aware that cyclists are more vulnerable on the road compared to them so they need to do everything in their power to keep the roads safe.

Below are some valuable tips that will make it easier to share the road with cyclists:

  • When your passing a cyclist give them enough space, at least half a car’s width
  • When you overtake a cyclist make sure you give them lost of room. Only overtake if your sure that it’s safe
  • Check your rear and side view mirrors before turning right our left and opening your car door
  • Cyclist are like any other road user so give them way when necessary and travel at a safe following distance
  • Try to avoid overtaking a cyclist, wait until it is safe to overtake or if a cyclist is ahead of you and you wish to turn left then turn behind the cyclist
  • Keep a look out for cyclists at night time, early in the morning or at dusk. If your approaching a cyclist under these conditions then make sure you dip your headlights
  • Be very careful around cyclists if it has been raining as they have to contend with oily, slippery roads and poor visibility
  • Don’t drive or park in a cycle lane
  • Don’t forget to indicate so that the cyclist knows upfront when you want to change lanes or turn a corner
  • If your driving near a school or a place where children may be riding their bike then be extra vigilant. This is because young riders can be unpredictable and not aware of the road rules so you need to anticipate their movements by giving them extra space and slowing down around schools
  • Treat cyclists with respect and courtesy
  • Cyclists can make sudden maneuvers so that they avoid uneven road surfaces and obstacles like drain covers, wet or icy patches on the road. This is why you need to give them plenty of room
  • When your heading towards a roundabout be aware that a cyclist may signal right when they are in the left lane so that they can continue round the roundabout
  • If your passing a cyclist make sure you pass them at a cautious speed
  • Remember to keep a three feet minimum distance when passing a cyclist. By doing this you can prevent a rear-end accident which could prove fatal for the cyclist

Remember that we should hold cyclists in high regard as by choosing not to drive they are benefiting everyone as they are reducing traffic congestion, pollution and road wear.

For more tips on sharing the road with cyclists then check out Safe Cycling in Sydney’s blog post on 6 things drivers can do to improve relations with cyclists.

Sources

1) Department of Transport and Main Roads (2012) Sharing the road with cyclists [online]. Available at: http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Safety/Driver-guide/Driving-safely/Sharing-the-road-with-cyclists.aspx  [Accessed 13 September 2012].

2) Torbay Council (2012) Ten Steps to Considerate Driving For Cyclist Safety [online]. Available at: http://www.torbay.gov.uk/index/yourbay/sports/cycling/ten-steps-to-considerate-driving-for-cyclist-safety.htm [Accessed 13 September 2012].

3) Ulrich, L (2012) How to Drive around Cyclists [online]. Available at: PDF Link [Accessed 14 September 2012].

Driving at night= extra danger?

October 10, 2012 at 5:39 am | Posted in yolendalo | 1 Comment
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Driving during the night is much more dangerous than during the day. This is because during the night visibility is low, from a scientific view this is because the colour and contrast from the day is lower than night. This then causes vision and depth perception to be lower, which in result, causes drivers to have a delayed reaction towards dangers.

When you do drive during the night you would immediately notice the difference between day time and night time. Although there are street lights as well as car lights to light up the roads, these lights are actually causing some problems on the road. This is because when the lights are too bright and strong it causes glare on people’s eyes. This then can cause a short term blindness which can then cause an accident. Not all people will be affected by this problem, however, people with eye sights problems will be most affected. If you do have trouble seeing at night because of the bright lights, go get your eyes checked. It is important to understand yourself and keep safe while driving.

 

Will you be able to see her?

 

Here are some suggestions to keep safe during the night:

  • Before you hit the road, check that all your mirrors, windows and lights are clean. Dirty windows and mirrors add to glare and dirty lights decreases efficiency.
  • Avoid using high beam on roads with lots of people because this will affect their visibility
  • Avoid using high beam on foggy days because it will reduce your own ability to see
  • Adjust your rear-view mirror to avoid reflection of other vehicles
  • Avoid using your interior lights when driving
  • Drive slower with more gap between other cars around you
  • Keep your eyes moving around for any form of danger
  • Try to drive less at night because it requires more concentration and during the night you are more fatigue

Don’t get lost, don’t go panic

October 5, 2012 at 5:09 am | Posted in yolendalo | 2 Comments
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It is not uncommon for someone to get lost while driving. However, not many people realize that getting lost or not knowing where you are is very dangerous. This is because when you get lost you focus your attention towards looking around and trying to figure out your location. If you have a GPS you would focus on that device, as previous blogs have stated, any device is a type of distraction. It is also human nature to feel panic when confronted with unfamiliar surrounding. This then causes a lack of focus on the road which can result to an accident.

A sign of someone getting lost is constantly changing lanes and slowing down in the middle of the road. This may seem like the driver is drunk or falling asleep on the wheels. However, this is usually a sign that the driver is either lost or they don’t know which lane to take due to the confusing road signs or lanes. Constantly changing lane is dangerous because drivers around you cannot anticipate or predict your next move. Starting and stopping is also hazardous because when a car tries to overtake you they can crash into you if you suddenly speed up.

When you are lost you should drive slower than usual at a constant pace, this insures that you won’t cause an accident if you suddenly stop to turn a corner or if someone overtakes you. Stay calm because panicking will not improve the situation, pull over if it is safe to do so and consult a map. When you change lane always remember that there is no protection shield surrounding you. No one knows what you are thinking therefore do not anticipate someone stopping in the middle of their track when you make a turn. It goes without saying:” always look before making a move”.

 

If you happen to be travelling somewhere foreign then before leaving you should always scout out the route. Even if you are just a bit hesitant, always consult the map before leaving. Do not always rely on your GPS, it is always dangerous focusing on the GPS while driving. It can act as a reminder but never rely on it. The GPS system will not tell you which lane to switch to, it will only tell you when to make a turn. Some roads are just too confusing and busy, therefore you may not be able to react quickly enough for the GPS.

Stay focused while driving

October 4, 2012 at 4:57 am | Posted in yolendalo | 2 Comments
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Driving is a dangerous activity, it is really important to pay attention all the time because if you lose focus for even one split second it can result in an accident. You may feel safe surrounded by metal and airbags, however, it is still best to prevent any accidents from happening.

Within Australian roads it is by law to stop every 2-3 hours of driving. This means that no driver, no matter how experienced you are is allowed to drive for more than 3 hours at a time. However, we believe that this time should be different for everyone driving on the road. This is because not everyone can handle the same amount of driving time. For example, older drivers aged 60 and over cannot drive longer than people aged 20-30. It is a known that older drivers lose focus a lot easier and quicker than younger drivers. Therefore this driving limit should be set lower if you are of older age. This is not to say that older drivers drive badly, it is just that their physical body cannot go through the stress of staying full alert for a long period of time. Driving requires a lot of focus, this then causes driving to become exhausting. Therefore if you don’t feel tired after driving you are not paying enough attention on the road.

Distractions can also cause the loss of focus.

Distractions can also include:

  • eating and drinking
  • reading or writing
  • using a wireless device
  • grooming
  • minding children
  • conversing with passengers
  • smoking
  • adjusting in-car stereos and electronics
  • minding pets
  • putting on make-up

According to the website Smart Motorist, traffic accidents are defined as unexpected, undesired and unforeseen mishaps involving auto-mobiles  Most importantly, traffic accidents are collisions that often can be avoided through cautious, defensive driving. Many drivers believe that they are capable to do the above actions without any consequences. However, traffic accidents will occur when it is least expected. Therefore all drivers should be aware that traffic accidents are not subjected to age, sex or experience. It can happen to everyone therefore drive cautiously with full attention on the road.

Please watch this clip and remember to drive with full attention

all copy rights go to generetix

Road Rage

October 3, 2012 at 8:26 am | Posted in yolendalo | Leave a comment
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Road rage is an aggressive or angry behaviour by a driver of an automotive or other motor vehicle. Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults, and collisions which result in injuries and even deaths. Road rage is experienced by many people from all ages therefore the effects it causes on the road should be identified by all drivers.

The following are common actions of road rage:

  • Generally aggressive driving, including sudden acceleration, braking, and close tailgating.
  • Cutting others off in a lane, or deliberately preventing someone from merging.
  • Chasing other motorists
  • Flashing lights and/or sounding the horn excessively.
  • Yelling or exhibiting disruptive behavior at roadside establishments.
  • Driving at high speeds in the median of a highway to terrify drivers in both lanes.
  • Rude gestures (such as “the finger”).
  • Shouting verbal abuses or threats.(such as the widely used term “F you”)

Here are some of the extreme cases of road rage:

  • Intentionally causing a collision between vehicles.
  • Hitting other vehicles.
  • Assaulting other motorists, their passengers, cyclists or pedestrians
  • Exiting the car to attempt to start confrontations, including striking other vehicles with an object.
  • Threatening to use or using a firearm or other deadly weapon.
  • Throwing objects from a moving vehicle with the intent to damage other vehicles.

Causes of road rage:

  1. Bad day at the office
  2. Feeling rushed
  3. Family issues
  4. Lack of sleep
  5. Running late
  6. Environmental issues
  7. Stress due to money related issues, such as bills

How to avoid road rage:

  1. Avoid conflict on the road
  • Everyone has the rights to use the road. It is a public area

2. Keep calm, show restraint

  • Don’t be paranoid, the world is not against you
  • Don’t show your frustration by making gestures- this could cause unneeded anger on someone else
  • Don’t try to compete, retaliate or “educate” them
  • Be patient in traffic, everyone is in the same situation

4. Say “thanks”/ say “sorry”

  • Apologizing to the other driver when you make a mistake, reduces confrontation and defuses anger

5. What to do in the event of violent road rage

  • Try not to react and avoid making eye contact, this is a sign that you want to fight
  • Don’t respond by accelerating, braking or swerving suddenly
  • If you think you’re being followed, try to drive to a busy public place or Police Station, before you stop. Don’t drive to quiet and unfamiliar roads.
  • Keep the and doors and boot locked in case it gets dangerous

What to do in the event of physical threats

  1. Stay in your car with windows locked
  2. If you have a mobile phone, call for help
  3. Use the car horn and lights to attract attention
  4. Never carry a defensive weapon- it could simply provoke a potential assailant

 

Speeding in New South Wales

October 2, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Posted in GHS | 1 Comment
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Source:

Roads and Maritime Services (2012) Speeding [online]. Available at: http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/roadsafety/speedandspeedcameras/index.html [Accessed 02 October 2012].

Driving and mobile phones don’t mix!

October 1, 2012 at 11:17 am | Posted in GHS | 4 Comments
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There are many distractions that we face when we drive whether it is having a conversation with our passengers or trying to change the song on our car stereo. These distractions can have a huge affect on our driving ability, one main distraction that has gained popularity as technology has evolved is mobile phones. Although we may think that this is not a big deal and that we can cope with doing two things at once, the reality is that it can directly impeded our ability to drive safely and can lead to fatal road accidents. Below is some information that sheds light on the dangers of driving whilst using a mobile phone.

Physical distraction

When you drive while using a hand held or hands free mobile phone it can distract you both physically and mentally.

It can physically distract you as you have to take one hand off the steering wheel while using your mobile phone. Also, you have to take your eyes off the road to pick up and put down the phone so that you can dial a number (ROSPA, 2012). This means that basically you have to operate your car using just one hand. Even if you use a hands-free phone you are still distracted as you need to take your eyes off the road in order to find the phone and press the button that allows you to call (ROSPA, 2012).

Mental Distraction

When your using a hand-held or hands-free mobile phone you have to perform two different mental, cognitive tasks at the same time. Therefore, you have to devote your attention to using the phone and maintaining a telephone conversation whilst also operating the car and responding to road and traffic conditions (ROSPA, 2012).

The three types of distraction you can experience while driving using a mobile phone

Using a mobile phone while driving can lead to…

  • Riskier decision making: you may not be able to choose a safe gap between you and other cars as your judgement and concentration are affected
  • Slower reaction: you reaction time is slower when your using a phone and you may not be able to respond to traffic signals
  • Slower braking: break reaction time is slower, you break with more force and less control which means that your stopping distances are shorter
  • Tendency to wander off from your lane
  • Less likely to be alert to your surroundings: you don’t check mirrors as often as before and your less likely to know what’s going on around you

(DPTI, 2009)

Text messaging is also dangerous

When you send a text message while driving you are physically, visually and mentally distracted. In addition, when you send a text message your eyes are taken off the road for up to four times longer compared to when you are not text messaging.

Text messaging can cause you to…

  • Make wrong lane changes
  • wander off from your lane
  • fail to see road signs and hazards such as other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists e.t.c.

(DPTI, 2009)

Text messaging and driving

Important Statistics

  • You are four times more likely to be involved in a car crash if you use a mobile phone while driving (DPTI, 2009)
  • According to an American Health Day Poll conducted in 2011, 37% of drivers have sent or received text messages while driving, 13% have surfed the net while driving
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discovered that more than three quarters of drivers were likely to answer calls on all, most, or some trips while driving. These drivers didn’t take into account traffic conditions when they decided to use their phones
  • In America there were 3,092 deaths due to distraction related accidents in 2012
  • 6000 deaths and half-a-million injuries are caused by distracted drivers every year in the US
  • The 30 to 39-year-old age group had the highest percentage of mobile phone use in fatal crashes
  • Fatalities associated with distracted drivers increased from 10% in 2005 to 16% in 2009
  • Talking on a mobile phone caused 25% of car accidents in the US
  • One-fifth of adult drivers in the US send text messages while driving
  • The Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. did a study on dangerous driver behavior in 2007. The found that out of the 1,200 drivers surveyed 73% talk on mobile phones while driving and 19% text while driving. They also uncovered that motorists who use mobile phones while driving are four times more likely to get into car crashes
  • Texting while driving causes a 400% increase in time spent with eyes off the road
  • A study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that a driver dialing a mobile phone is 2.8 times more likely to get into a crash, a driver reaching for a mobile or any electronic device is 1.4 times more likely to get into a car crash and a driver talking on their mobile is 1.3 times more likely to get into an accident

(Edgar Snyder, 2012)

Older drivers at higher risk

“There is evidence that older drivers require more glances to instrument panels to retrieve necessary information, require more time to complete instrument tasks and require more time to move their eyes between the road and an instrument display. Therefore, using a mobile phone while driving may cause more problems for older drivers than younger ones (ROSPA, 2012, p. 3).”

Important studies on the use of mobile phones while driving

In one study 15 people were asked to drive on a driving simulation which was on a single carriageway rural road. There was traffic in front of and behind them and on-coming vehicles. While they were driving they were asked a series of questions on a hands-free phone. The result of the study showed that when they were using a mobile phone the drivers took an average of 200 meters longer to respond to a change in the speed limit. Also, using the mobile phone significantly decreased the driver’s awareness which resulted in them having very little awareness of what was going on around them (ROSPA, 2012).

A study conducted in the US found that the risk of being in a collision was four times higher when using a hand-held or hands-free phone. They came to this conclusion after examining the mobile phone records of drivers who were involved in a damage-only road accident (ROSPA, 2012).

Another study in America looked at 223 traffic accidents between 1992 and 1995 in the US. It came to the conclusion that the drivers who were using a mobile phone were nine times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident. Additionally, the report states that using a mobile phone while driving increases the risk of fatal accidents three times more than being drunk (ROSPA, 2012).

Over a four-month period accident reports in Taiwan recorded whether the driver had a mobile phone in their car at the time of the accident and whether it was being used. Out of the 3,000 road accidents 22% involved drivers who had a mobile phone in the car and 4% involved drivers who were using a mobile phone at the time of the accident. The same study also found that between August 2000 and March 2001, 2,407 traffic accidents were caused by drivers using mobile phones, these resulted in 14 deaths and 443 injuries. Nine deaths and 354 injuries occurred in accidents were the driver was using a hand-held phone and four deaths and 89 injuries happened in accidents where the driver was using a hands-free phone (ROSPA, 2012).

Fatal accidents involving mobile phones

  • March 1999: A driver died when his car swerved off the road and into a tree while talking on a mobile
  • March 1999, Scotland: Truck driver crashed into a car which led to the death of the occupant. The truck driver was speeding while using a hands free mobile phone
  • March 2000, UK: The driver was talking on a mobile phone while reading a map. His car hit the back of a lorry carrying gas cylinders. The driver died in the fire
  • June 2000: A truck driver hit a man standing by his parked car because he was writing a text message
  • November 2000, UK: A driver died when he pulled out in front of a police car that had its lights and sirens on. The driver was sending and receiving text messages minutes before the crash
  • August 2001: A driver died when she drove head-on into a truck. She was sending a text message before she lost control of her car

(ROSPA, 2012)

The reason why I based this blog post on driving while using a mobile phone is because I think this is a major issue when it comes to road safety. I also think the more awareness this issue is given, the better chance there is in changing the attitude and behavior of all drivers which may ultimately lead to less fatalities on the roads.

Sources

1) Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (2009) Road Safety: Mobile Phone Use [online]. Available at: http://www.dpti.sa.gov.au/roadsafety/Safer_behaviours/inattention/mobile_phone_use [Accessed 26 September 2012].

2) Snyder, E. (2012) Cell Phone & Texting Accident Statistics [online]. Available at: http://www.edgarsnyder.com/car-accident/cell-phone/cell-phone-statistics.html [Accessed 25 September 2012].

3) The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (2012) The Risk of Using a Mobile Phone While Driving [online]. Available at: http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/info/mobile_phone_report.pdf – 2010-01-22 [Accessed 25 September 2012].

Ways to drive safely

September 23, 2012 at 10:17 am | Posted in yolendalo | 2 Comments
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There are many ways to improve driving among drivers with full license. Here are some:

  1. Courses can help enhance an individual’s driving knowledge when they grow older. This prevents the possibility of road rules being forgotten as well as refreshing an individual’s knowledge of road rules. This can also inform drivers new road rules that have been implemented.
  2. Simple reminders from society the need to drive safely and not to rely on just experience when driving. This can prevent any careless acts when driving and potentially preventing accidents on the road.
  3. A compulsory road test every 5 years, this can reduce drivers that cannot drive safely. This also ensures that all drivers will take driving seriously and not a lifelong activity but something that needs to be earned.
  4. A promise or a pledge to drive safely. This acts as a reminder to always focus on the road.
  5. Leave a bit early. This gives a driver more time to get to the destination which decreases speeding.
  6. Turn of all devices to make sure the driver focuses on the road.
  7. If you are starting to lose focus, exchange drivers. Don’t try to push it because you won’t have enough reflex or attention on the road.
  8. Follow all road rules and speed limit. They are there for a reason.
  9. Try to read over the driver manual for getting your license every 1-2 years. This can also refresh your memory on how to drive safely. (driving guide provided by the RTA)

Can you name other ways to drive safely and prevent accidents on the road?

An unwanted accident

September 23, 2012 at 12:59 am | Posted in yolendalo | 1 Comment
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As said in previous blogs, driving rules can be forgotten over time and the need to drive safely can be disregarded as well. Therefore it would be beneficial if society or family and friends remind the driver the risk of ignoring road rules as well as safety driving. It’s as simple as reminding them the results of a crash can be a damaged car, money wasted on an unwise decision on the road or in the worst scenarios injuries and deaths.

I’ve recently seen an accident happen when I was crossing the road. It was a road with a speed limit of 60km/hr with no speed cameras nearby. As shown below on the image one car wanted to turn right (car B) and one car was going straight (car A). As car A was going straight forward at most likely 60km/hr, car B turned left and car A crashed right onto the left side of car B. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take any photos of the accident because it was not the right thing to do at that time.

When the drivers got out I happened to hear the driver from car A say: “why did you turn? U should give way to me!” The response from the drive in car B was:” no, you should give way to me! I signaled to turn right and you sped-up!”

This shows that people assume too much when driving and when in a hurry they make silly mistakes. A simple reminder by people around them would reduce careless mistakes from misunderstandings.

This would be the view of car A going straight.

This would be the view of car B turning right.

Share a story of a crash you know of as well.

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