Collisions and traffic tie-ups create problems for motorists, whether morning, noon or night. A traffic tie-up could be as a result of an early-morning accident, an afternoon collision, repair work on the roadway, or a fallen pole and so on. “Driver judgement is a factor in avoiding or minimising the danger in every breakdown,” says Norris Christian, a Gryphon-trained driver instructor. “And so drivers in the tie-up are responsible for driving in a safe, cooperative manner,” he adds.
Christian explains that a collision is a more serious breakdown on the road. According to him, a collision occurs when there is a crash between two or more vehicles. “Some collisions, example, high-speed collisions, often have tragic results.” Webster’s Dictionary describes ‘collide’ as ‘strike together’, while The Oxford English Dictionary expresses collision as “an instance of people or things colliding”. Sometimes, we say an accident occurred when what is really meant is a collision or a crash. The word accident would suggest something that ‘just happens’ to a person, something a driver could not avoid.
However, most collisions do not just happen, they are caused. The causes of collisions can be determined, and steps can be taken to eliminate many of the causes.
1. The driver is the main cause in a number of collisions. Frequently, these errors occur because a driver violates a traffic law.
2. Adverse weather conditions.
3. Defects in vehicles and roadways.
4. Some crashes have multiple causes. For example, a car skids in the rain and crashes through a guard rail. There could be the possibility of the absence of a warning sign, such as ‘Pavement slippery when wet’, plus the poor condition of the car’s brakes. In such a case, while the wet pavement and poor brakes added to the problem, the immediate cause of the crash was the person driving too fast for the conditions.
The IPDE Process, which is a thinking-doing process, can help drivers avoid collisions.
Identify: Locate the potential hazards in the driving scene.
Predict: Judge where possible points of conflict may occur.
Decide: Determine what actions to take and when and where to take them.
Execute: Act by manoeuvring the car to avoid any conflicts.
“Defensive driving is the art of protecting yourself and others from dangerous and unexpected changes in the driving environment,” says Charmaine Walters, a secretary who travels to Kingston daily. Shane Sutherland, guidance counsellor, is of the view that the defensive driver anticipates the actions of other road users and is willing to adjust speed and position if they make mistakes.
All drivers are responsible for keeping their motor vehicles properly maintained, for adjusting to roadway conditions, and for staying alert while driving.
1. Check oil and transmission fluid.
2. Check drive belts and hoses.
3. Check cooling system for leaks.
4. Check filter, brake linings and/or pads.
5. Check horn, lights, wipers,
6. Check out sounds and squeals, which could mean a loose drive belt or a hole in the muffler.
7. Also, do a self-check. Check yourself before you wreck yourself and before you hit the road.