As anyone who drives a great deal or indeed drives for a living will say, the standard of driving on our roads is not improving. Use of devices is often cited as being to blame, not without good reason, and also the lack of attention to detail. For example, people not indicating their direction changes with the equipment that is there for the purpose. At a busy road junction, the knowledge of other vehicles’ movements is vital for safety. So it goes on. That’s why government statistics often make for gloomy reading. The Highway Code seems to be set of rules and recommendations required for the driving test alone after which it’s a bit of a free-for-all.
The Good News & The Bad News
Certainly it is welcome news that the overall number of casualties on British roads fell by six percent last year, but less welcome is the worrying rise in the number of serious injuries overall. On the plus side things are at least better here in the UK, with one of the lowest road fatalities rates, as opposed to continental Europe.
The Department for Transport releases annual figures for this and the latest, published in July, show that the overall number of casualties on Britain's roads fell in 2018, as did the number of deaths. On the face of it that’s a good thing, but the data also reveals a small rise in serious injuries.
Car Build Quality
Less fatalities points to the high level of car build quality coupled with all the latest safety technology on our vehicles, saving us from ourselves. In low speed bumps these safety standards also seem to be the reason for less casualties overall. The statistics do not however suggest that the number of accidents has been reduced, as in a serious shunt an individual might now be seriously injured instead of ending up dead, along with the other 1782 road fatalities in 2018.
It seems clear that the sharp rise in serious injuries makes it all too clear that British motorists need to be increasingly vigilant when they take to our nation's highways and byways, particularly when they're driving in heavily built-up areas where accidents are much more likely to occur.
No doubt all drivers have an opinion about other people’s driving and choose to express it often by means of basic Anglo-Saxon English or by way of demonstrative hand gestures not normally associated with the Highway Code. We all like to think we are good drivers and when asked would probably not look sheepish and raise our hand and admit to being like a lethal weapon behind the wheel. Maybe our standards of driving should be something to think about more often; that way we won’t end up on the wrong end of the above mentioned statistics.
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