Road deaths not inevitable
THE EDITOR, Sir:
One doesn't have to drive far, or for long, on the roads to understand why we had a high number of fatalities in 2015. One main culprit is speeding.
The road hogs can be seen parading their lunacy even in built-up areas. You can see them, fast and furious in school zones, with little regard for the little ones. It's astonishing how they race around you for the sole purpose of stopping in front of you. Consequently, I am willing to support any initiative that is geared at stemming the wanton loss of life and property, as well as injuries, which all place a heavy burden on an already-crippled health sector.
Therefore, I welcome the announcement from Kenute Hare, director of the Road Safety Unit, regarding defensive-driving techniques.
The National Safety Council for Motor Vehicle Operations (USA) defines defensive driving as driving to save lives, time and money in spite of the conditions around and the action of others. This is the essence of what Mr Hare is proposing. Unfortunately, I am not privy to the details as to how it would be done, who would teach them, and where, how would those skills be tested.
As it relates to content, there are various things a defensive driver should know and exercise. These include but are not limited to:
1. Paying attention. Inattention may involve daydreaming, sleeplessness, fatigue, distraction.
2. Don't speed. Driving above a reasonable speed cuts your reaction time.
3. Communicate well, signal your intentions and be courteous. Too often we fail to indicate our intentions. We move off, stop and turn with total disregard for other road users.
4. Beware of stopped and slow-moving vehicles at crosswalks. There are times when a driver is being courteous and allowing someone to cross and other drivers are trying to overtake.
Port Antonio, Portland