Off the fence
Statistics show more young females aged between 17 and 19 are killed or seriously injured as car passengers than as a driver so this week Mayo County Council have launched a road safety campaign specifically aimed at striking the heart of young men to encourage them to take responsibility for their female passengers.
The campaign was launched yesterday in on the day for lovers – Valentine’s Day.
Although the campaign carries a serious message, the team at the Road Safety Unit didn’t want to pour cold water on romance and the flyers distributed simply asked drivers to ‘Keep you and your Valentine safe’.
The Valentine’s campaign is targeted primarily at young male drivers. This isn’t intended as singling out young men for criticism. It’s just a fact, and this is one time of the year that the Road Safety team believe there is an opening to appeal to young male drivers and urge them to heed the dangers inherent in driving.
A road collision can result in devastating emotional and physical trauma for drivers and their passengers, their families and loved ones. On what is considered the most romantic day of the year, the campaign is urging young men to take care while driving, particularly when they have their wives or girlfriends in the car with them.
However, safe driving is not just about young men. This is a campaign that applies to all drivers, regardless of age or sex.
Road collision figures indicate that those aged between 16 and 25 have accounted for almost 3 out of every 5 passenger deaths in 2010.
The campaign also helps us to reinforce safe driving tips such as: Don’t drink or take drugs and drive. Too many drivers think they can handle driving while impaired. They can’t; Belt up. A five-second good habit could prevent a trip to the emergency room -- or the morgue;
Turn in early. Most fatal crashes involving teens happen after 9 pm during the week, and after midnight on weekends; Avoid a crowd. Risk of a fatal crash for young drivers doubles with two passengers. It doubles again with three; Keep it cool. Don’t drive when you’re angry or upset. Strong emotions distract you; Turn down the volume. Playing loud music while driving is also distracting. Also, avoid changing stations, tapes or CDs unless you’re stopped; Know the (speed) limits. The maximum safe speed isn’t always the one on the sign. Slow down when it rains or snows, in the dark or fog, or if there’s heavy traffic; Keep your distance. You need at least two seconds of stopping distance between you and the vehicle ahead. At 40 miles an hour, that’s about 60 feet more than three vehicle lengths; Pass with care. The possibility of a head-on crash makes a two-lane highway the most dangerous place to drive; Look where you’re going. Never move your vehicle into a spot that you haven’t cleared with your eyes first. Many crashes occur because someone wasn’t looking.
Noel Gibbons is Road Safety Officer with Mayo County Council