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By Spencers Solicitors

  Laura Reaney    
  November 19, 2020

Road Safety Week: Accident Facts & Tips To Stay Safe

You may recall that earlier in the week, I wrote about Road Safety Week, an annual event that this year, runs from 16th to 22nd November. The campaign is co-ordinated by the road safety charity, Brake which itself does magnificent work in its efforts to stop road deaths, to help reduce the number of injuries caused by road accidents and through its support of people and families affected by accidents.

At Spencers solicitors our personal injury team see only too often, the effects that car accidents and other types of road accident have on the injured victims of road collisions. That’s why we are only too pleased to have this opportunity to play our part in helping raise awareness of the aims of Road Safety Week, which are to:

  • promote responsible road use and,
  • stop the suffering that road crashes, injuries and death, cause.

During the year 2019, it is reported that a total of 1870 people lost their lives in road traffic accidents. Overall, 27,820 were killed or seriously injured and the total number of casualties including less serious injuries reported to the police, totalled 157,360.

Although this last figure represents a decrease of 5% on the previous year’s total number of casualties, it still means that over 430 people are killed or injured on UK roads every day. That suggests that something’s got to change.

No Need to Speed

This year Road Awareness Week’s is focusing on the relationship between a vehicle’s speed and the effect that has on causing an accident. If there is an accident, what effect does speed have on the severity of any injury caused?

Here are some quick facts about speed. Some of them may surprise you!

  • A crash that happens at 30mph has twice the destructive effect of a crash at 20mph.
  • Excess speed is a contributory factor in 1 in 3 fatal road accidents.
  • If drivers would only reduce their average speed by 1mph, the accident rate would drop by approximately 5%.
  • A person who drives 10-15% above the average speed in relation to the other traffic around them, is much more likely to be involved in an accident.
  • Drivers who habitually speed are not only more likely to be involved in collisions than other drivers. They are also statistically proven to be more likely to commit other driving offences, such as going through lights on red and tailgating the vehicle in front.
  • When a car hits another in the side, drivers are at much greater risk of being killed or seriously injured – in a collision at 40 mph the risk for a belted driver of being killed, is 85%!
  • Pedestrians hit by a car or a car-derived van, at a speed of between 30 and 40mph, are between 3.5 and 5.5 more likely to be killed than pedestrians who are hit by cars at impact speeds of below 30mph.

What can we do to play our part in helping to reduce road accidents and staying safe on the roads?

It might seem trite to ask how we , on our own, can help reduce road accidents. However, the power of many individuals acting together can do what we on our own can’t do.

We can:

  1. Make a concerted effort to drive just that bit more slowly. Remember – driving at just 1mph more slowly than we are used to doing, will go towards reducing the accident rate by 5%
  2. Ask ourselves; "Why the need for speed?" sometimes we speed for no obvious reason. We don’t get to where we are going that much sooner, but by speeding it’s proven that we are putting ourselves and others road users at risk.
  3. Be an aware driver : don’t allow yourself to just drive on auto pilot, particularly if you are prone to pressing the accelerator down hard! Being aware and be proud of the fact that you make a conscious decision not to speed.
  4. As a passenger in a car where the driver is going too fast, ask them to slow down a bit. We can tell them that their speeding is making us nervous. We can always tell them to read this article, if they complain!
  5. As pedestrians, we too have our part to play in helping reduce the numbers that are killed and injured on our roads. We can also be aware. Not looking at our mobile phones as we walk along the streets would be a start. A 2016 report for the AA found that 72 per cent of motorists approached during the study, said that they had often seen ‘gadget obsessed pedestrians’ walking off the road without looking.’ That was four years ago, too. The stats won’t have got any better since! We can simply stay off our phones, be aware of our surroundings and perhaps in doing so, save our lives!

It is anticipated that as the world returns to normal, once the Covid 19 pandemic is over, traffic levels will rise to levels of at least equal to pre-pandemic levels. If people are put off from travelling on public transport, there may be even greater numbers of drivers on the roads. More traffic means more accidents.

If we all adopt and take on board just some of the marvellous advice that is available on the Road Safety Week website, then maybe, just maybe we can all play our part in helping to improve road safety and prevent casualties.

All statistical facts and figures have been taken from information on the websites of Road Safety Week, Brake and RoSPA, unless separately acknowledged.

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