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Safety on our roads

Fatal4

Every year, our emergency services attend and care for those involved in road collisions and over the past 10 years, on average, 378 people per year were killed or seriously injured on Norfolk roads.

In 2019, there were 1,643 collisions on Norfolk’s roads. Most occur in areas of 30mph speed limits.

Being a large rural county, Norfolk has approximately 6,200 miles of road. The department for transport estimate that in 2019, 5.81 billion vehicle miles were travelled on our county’s roads.

Everyone can do their bit to ensure our roads are as safe as possible for all users.

The Fatal4 are the most common causes of road collisions, yet most of these are preventable and avoidable. Ultimately, they are all distractions and distracted driving can cause death and serious injury with an ongoing ripple effect for all those involved.

The four biggest dangers whilst driving have been identified as the Fatal Four:

Speeding

We are all familiar with the road signs advising us the national speed limit for our roads, varying from local roads in built-up areas set at 20mph through to our dual carriageways at 70mph. These speed indicators are not targets you need to achieve and more importantly you should always drive at a safe speed suited to the road conditions – weather, heavy traffic and type of road all need consideration before we press the accelerator. Norfolk is a rural county with few high speed carriageways and many narrow country roads and lanes used by various vehicles – this has an impact on our road conditions. Those more rural roads often have bends with unseen hazards and our agricultural vehicles can cause muddy and slippery conditions in wet or wintery weather. Excess speed can reduce the time we have to safely stop our vehicle if a hazard presents itself. Ask yourself, is that extra speed really worth the risk?

Think about……

  • Leaving plenty of time for your journey, simple but effective 
  • Using a low gear in a 30mph limit 
  • Taking notice of speed limits and how they change during the course of your journey
  • Staying aware of the safe distance between you and the vehicle in front

Mobile phones

Mobile phones have become a part of our everyday lives and can be a positive addition to any car journey should you break down or have an emergency. They can, however, also be a distraction whilst driving and should not be used to make calls, send messages or scroll your social media. Just a moment’s distraction looking down at your mobile phone can have devastating consequences. A travelling vehicle can move quite some distance in the second that you use your mobile phone. Using a mobile phone isn’t just unsafe it is also illegal. You can be issued with a fixed penalty notice if you are caught using a mobile phone whilst driving, with 6 points added to your licence and £200 fine. Ask yourself, is that text or call really worth the risk?

Think about….

  • Calling or text before you leave 
  • Planning stops in your journey to make calls or texts 
  • Putting your mobile phone out of reach, perhaps in the glovebox 
  • Switching the sound off or giving your mobile phone to your passenger

Drink and drugs

Using drink and/or drugs can impair our ability to drive safely, it slows down the thought and reaction processes between the brain and our normal functions. Your ability to control your vehicle and ability to respond to the environment around you is restricted and reduced. The consequences of your poor reactions and decisions while driving can be fatal.

The level of drink driving has reduced over the last few decades, but it still happens despite it being less socially acceptable. Those involved in driving while under the influence of drugs has risen and often a lead cause of road collisions in young drivers. It’s not just the impact on the driver but any passengers, people in other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists and the families of everyone involved.

The best decision before driving is to avoid consuming drink and/or drugs entirely. Ask yourself, is driving under the influence of drink and/or drugs really worth the risk?

Think about……

  • Just don’t do it! Drink and/or drug driving is not a safe combination 
  • Choosing not to travel with a driver who you know or believe is under the influence of drink or drugs 
  • Planning ahead and make use of public transport or taxis 
  • The cost of a taxi fare compared to the loss of your licence, your job, a life changing injury or someone’s life 
  • Deciding on a designated driver who stays sober

Seatbelts

Not wearing a seatbelt would leave you twice as likely to die in a vehicle collision. Wearing your seatbelt should be a habit and part of your routine before the vehicle moves. It’s one of the easiest ways to reduce your risks while driving.

Don’t forget your passengers! As the driver you have a responsibility to ensure they reduce the risk too. Seatbelt laws are strict, you can be fined up to £500 for not wearing your seatbelt. Ask yourself, is not wearing your seatbelt really worth the risk?

Think about…..

  • Making it part of your routine – key in ignition/belt on 
  • Encourage your passengers and don’t drive off until they all belt up 
  • It’s your car, make it a rule, no belt, no ride 
  • Passengers not wearing seatbelts are quite likely to cause the death of their driver in an impact, don’t let that be you

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