Crashes as a result of driver distraction can lead to deaths, as well as serious life-threatening injuries.
There are three types of distractions:
· Physical – taking your hands off the steering wheel or eyes off the road.
· Cognitive – taking your mind off driving by thinking of more than one thing at once.
· Emotional - engaging with other people or tasks on an emotional level resulting in physically narrowing peripheral vision and disrupting vehicle control.
Using a Mobile/smartphone whilst driving is one of the highest causes (inside the vehicle) of driver distraction crashes
In the Auckland region between 2013-2017 there were 236 serious injuries to drivers who had their attention diverted, as well as 23 deaths.
Using your mobile phone while driving impairs your driving performance in several ways:
· Slower reaction time especially when braking.
· Reduced peripheral vision.
· Impaired ability to stay in the correct lane.
· Shorter following distances.
Don’t be tempted to use a hand held mobile phone in the car. In addition to the risks to yourself and others, it is against the law and you risk and $80 penalty fine and 20 demerit points.
Using a mobile phone while driving makes drivers take their eyes off the road, their hands off the steering wheel and their minds off the road. A driver is 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash when texting on a mobile phone and driving. ( Source NZTA)
The recent storms are a good reminder. One minute it’s fine the next we are in a downpour or worse!
Changing weather patterns impact on drivers and journeys reminding us that our vehicles need to be fit for the road with adequate tread depth to cope with surface water or worse. New tyres have tread patterns that will pump up to 9 litres of water a second, older worn tyres will be much less! This performance can affect safety if drivers don’t slowdown in wet conditions.
If a vehicle is going too fast it will aquaplane resulting in loss of steering and control, outcomes can vary but avoiding this is relatively easy, slowing down, driving to the conditions by being aware of how good your tyres are.
Almost every course we run we come across underinflated tyres and near bald tyres, drivers need to take more responsibility but so do employers need to help. If staff are unsure of the correct tyre pressures, then check this online tool. Or make them aware of what are correct pressures for their vehicles.
We explain the basics of vehicle tyre maintenance on our Level 1 course, and the reasons why it is so important. It’s not what every driver wants to hear, but it is what every driver needs to know!
Why speed matters!
The severity of injuries resulting from a crash is directly related to how fast vehicles were travelling before the crash – even if they were under the speed limit.
When a vehicle crashes, it undergoes a rapid change of speed, but the occupants keep moving at the vehicle’s previous speed until stopped. The faster the speed at which the human body must absorb the energy released in the crash, the greater the severity of the resulting injury.
Your speed also dictates what happens if you hit another vehicle or person.
For example, if a pedestrian steps out in front of you and you take one second to react:
- Driving at 50km/h, you need at least 27m to stop
- Driving at 60km/h, you need at least 36m to stop.
The probability that the pedestrian will die increases rapidly with relatively small increases in speed.
For example, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle:
- at 40km/h has a 70% chance of survival
- at 45km/h has a 50% chance of survival.
For a child or an elderly person, the odds are much worse.
- “Reconstruction” advertisement by the Traffic Accident Compensation Victoria(link is external) – demonstrates the difference 5km/h makes when a vehicle hits a pedestrian (opens in YouTube).
Our Defensive Driver training helps protect the driver by increasing their skills and awareness of their capabilities and potentially reduces the risks for others involved in accidents.