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The Most Common Myths Surrounding Road Safety

By: Kevin Dowling BA (IMC) - Updated: 4 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Myth Road Safety Accidents Drivers

Think you know everything about road safety? You may be surprised to learn that some of the ‘facts’ you thought were true about road safety are actually myths.

Myth 1: Young, Inexperienced Drivers Cause More Accidents

According to statistics provided by the RAC, young drivers (aged between 17 and 25 years) are responsible for 25% of all fatal and serious road collisions.

While this is certainly a high percentage compared to the proportion of the number of young drivers on the road, it still leaves a staggering 75% of all fatal and serious accidents caused by drivers who cannot blame youth or inexperience.

Myth 2: Drinking and Driving is Most Common at Christmas

A widely held belief in the UK is that the Christmas holiday period time is the worst time of the year for drink driving accidents. This may seem logical, but is simply not backed up by the statistics.

In fact, a higher proportion of drink driving incidents take place during the summer months, where hot days and longer daylight hours make for a dangerous combination.

Many people tend to forget in the summer that alcohol continues to build up in their system, even over a few hours. So, that glass of wine at lunchtime followed by another couple of drinks after work would already be enough to put a driver over the limit and driving illegally.

Even if you do not drive that evening, depending on the amount of alcohol you consumer you may still be over the limit the next morning.

Myth 3: Speed is Not The Major Factor in Road Accidents

The anti-speed camera lobby has, in recent years, managed to convince many people that speed is not the overwhelming single factor in most road accidents. Again the statistics tell us otherwise.

Studies have demonstrated that as the speed of a vehicle increases the risk that a crash will occur also increases. The findings reflect the importance of drivers having time to respond to the unexpected. At higher speeds there is simply less time for a driver to be able to react to events.

Basic science dictates that the faster an object is travelling the greater the force of any impact and the greater the impact the more likely it is that the object and what it collides with will be damaged or even completely broken.

Applied to a moving vehicle involved in a collision this means that the higher the speed the greater the damage will be to the vehicle and what it collides with and the greater the risk of death or serious injury for victims.

Myth 4: The UK has some of the Safest Roads in Europe

It is true that casualty figures in the UK are falling and compare favourably with other European countries, although with an estimated nine people killed, and around 100 seriously injured, on our roads every day, it is far from a record to be proud of.

Unfortunately, casualty rates for children in the UK, especially child pedestrians, are among the worst in Europe. 141 children were killed on our streets in 2006, a 20% rise from 2005. 80 of these were killed while on foot, 20 on bicycle, and a further 2,700 seriously injured.

In fact, the UK rates 11th for child pedestrian deaths among 19 EU countries, and a child pedestrian is three times more likely to die in UK than in Italy and twice as likely as in France.

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