How to prevent being rear-ended
Traffic congestion is quite common in Jamaica’s cities and towns. Therefore, there is always a challenge in congested areas such as: Kingston and St Andrew, Spanish Town, Old Harbour, May Pen, Mandeville and Montego Bay. As various users share the road, accommodation to the limited space is required. “In order to drive safely, motorists should allow space between themselves and the other road users,” says Kanute Haire, director of Road Safety in the Ministry of Transport and Mining. Alphonso Grennell, of Grennell’s Driving School, advises that in any traffic environment, maintaining an adequate following distance has many advantages. One is that it allows the driver to see the road ahead, which helps to adjust to traffic and he can stop safely if the vehicle ahead stops suddenly.
Many rear-end accidents in Jamaica are caused by driver error. The error may be yours or the other driver’s. You can reduce your chances of a rear-end collision by knowing and using the standard Accident Prevention Formula. Drivers must:
1. Be ALERT: Always believe that the other driver will make an error.
2. Be PREPARED: Learn what to do, when you have to act fast.
3. ACT IN TIME: Try as best as possible not to panic.
To avoid a collision, you need as much time as possible to react. You should try to keep plenty of space between your motor car and others on all sides. Stay in the middle of your lane. Ensure that there is enough room ahead to stop or pass safely. Remember that the space between you and other vehicles gives you time to react in emergencies. A practical way to measure a safe follow distance is to count the seconds as you drive. A following distance of two seconds is considered safe for normal driving conditions.
Although it is often said that a driver who hits you from behind is in the wrong, a motorist has the responsibility to the driver following him. You have to let the driver know what you are going to do for the person to know how to respond. Here are some measures that a motorist can apply in order to avoid being hit from behind.
A. Keep clear of all tailgaters. Do not let a tailgater ride you, just slow down. This will eliminate the hazard by encouraging him or her to pass. Increase your following distance between your car and the car ahead, so you will not have to brake suddenly and be hit by the tailgater. This will force him to slow down, thereby making it easier for him to stop safely when you stop.
B. It is wise to signal your intentions. Use your directional signals or arm signals and brake lights.
C. Try to stop smoothly. Once in a while, you may have no choice but to ‘jam’ on the brakes. Most of the time that action should not be necessary. If you follow the rule for avoiding a collision with the vehicle ahead, you will, at the same time, reduce the chance for a collision with the vehicle behind you.
D. Try, as best as possible, to avoid a rear-end collision when stopped. Being struck from the rear, while in traffic, accounts for numerous rear-end accidents.
Here are some additional tips by Grennell’s Driving School to consider to prevent you from being hit in the rear of your motor vehicle.
1. Keep a safe following distance.
2. Use your mirrors regularly.
3. Minimise distractions.
4. Do not stop abruptly at the traffic lights.
5. Stop gradually when possible.
Tips provided by Grennell’s Driving School. (876) 977-5249 (876) 228-0117, firstname.lastname@example.org