We’ve all read about the stats on road traffic crashes and road safety and it seems collisions on our roads are on the increase. On average over 400 people die each year on Norfolk’s roads - that’s 34 people being seriously injured or killed each month.
The quite scary thing is that 68% of people killed and seriously injured on Norfolk’s roads are men and three quarters of all people dying on Norfolk’s roads are men. It seems that men are bigger risk takers and that could be part of the issue.
Speeding is a huge one – whether it’s just people showing off or just wanting to get somewhere quicker. I think men have a tendency to disobey the laws of the roads a little bit more than women do and the stats back that up.
Not wearing seatbelts is another big one. Back in the day, my parents wouldn’t have their seatbelts on and my brother and I would be fighting in the back of the car without seatbelts. There were no seatbelts in the back of cars then!
A few years ago, if I was going out I’d worry that my seatbelt would crease my shirt – but my wife has been in my ear lots and lots to make sure I put my seat belt on and I absolutely do now. It’s simply not worth the risk.
Drink driving is obviously an issue and it still amazes me that people will still even consider it. Drug driving can also be a problem. People think you can get away with drug driving more easily than drink driving because they think it’s not quite so easy to recognise. This just isn’t the case – the local news is always reporting on people being caught drug driving. Even prescription drugs can affect your ability to drive so always check the label to make sure it’s safe to drive.
Keep your mobile phone in your glove box
It’s no surprise that one of the biggest distractions when in the car is the use of mobile phones. Let’s face it, we’ve all spotted people in cars using their mobile phones whilst driving. It’s pretty scary stuff when you look at the figures. Forty percent of people said they checked texts or social media when they were in traffic last year – and that’s just the people who admit it, it’s probably a lot higher.
I’ve been tempted to check my phone when I’ve been sat in traffic lights - that is illegal too. Really doing anything with your phone that takes your mind off the road while driving is dangerous. I think mobile phone companies should take a stance and take responsibility for this issue to be honest. My phone now won’t give me any alerts when I’m driving and I think phone companies need to go further than that. They should develop technology to stop your phone working in the car so you’re not tempted to use it.
There were 33 deaths caused by mobile phone use in 2017 in the UK– and those are the ones we know about.
Use technology in your car to keep your mind on the road
Keeping your mind on the road sounds obvious when you’re driving but there can be a lot of distractions when you’re behind the wheel, whether it’s your kids squabbling in the back, or keying in a new destination on your sat nav. How many times have you arrived back home in your car and can’t remember part of the journey? Most accidents happen within two miles of your own home – you’re in familiar surroundings, you end up driving on autopilot and not fully concentrating on the road. But you can take advantage of technology in your car to help you – cruise control helps you monitor your driving speeds for example. Black box technology for young drivers is a great way to help promote safe driving too. Just make sure that you know how to work the technology in your car. Read the handbook at home to make the most of the gadgets rather than fiddling with the buttons while you’re driving.
Above all my advice to you is when you’re driving, keep your mind on the road. Keep your phone in your glove box away from temptation and stay focussed. A second’s lost concentration could change your life.
Simple car checks you can do
- Make sure your car is in good nick, especially when you go on a long journey
- Check your tyres and lights before long journeys (and do a walk round each day you use your car)
- Keep your windscreen wash topped up
- Check your tyre pressures each week
- Make sure your oil is topped up
National mobile phone figures
- 2,263 crashes were caused by drivers using a mobile phone between 2013 and 2017
- 33 fatal crashes in 2017
- 25% admitted to talking on a handheld phone while driving in 2018
- 40% said they checked texts or social media when in traffic in 2018
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