Mountain News – Community Voices
Friday, July 22, 2005
Not so for the following reasons:
First and foremost! Road safety is a health issue. It should be handled by the Ontario Ministry of Health who has a vested interest in reducing the tremendous cost of health care as a result of poor driving.
Aging drivers are like alcoholics who go into a form of denial refusing to acknowledge their driving days are over. A hot political issue, since seniors are most likely to vote.
Poor driving skills are not necessarily the domain of aging drivers. Most drivers who have obtained their G licenses do not consider any more driver training. Those who received upgrading driving courses have a tendency to become bolder, taking more risks. Many people past the age of 55 should take advantage of the Canada Safety Council’s “55 Alive” program which is available in the Hamilton area.
Seniors must relearn traffic rules and regulations before upgrading their actual driving technical skills. During a driving lesson is not the time to learn them.
Another major factor in collisions is the poor physical condition of the vehicles. Look after it, and it will be a great friend. Abuse it and it will kill you. If anywhere a road block were set up for vehicle safety checks, the failure rate would be incredible. Some simple things are non-working brake lights, directional signals. Tires which are too old, out of round, unbalanced or out of alignment, cracked windshields, malfunctioning windshield wipers and missing or broken side view mirrors. These are signs of carelessness, bordering on criminal neglect that may contribute to a vehicle that is unable to perform when asked to do so in an emergency.
We fail to comprehend the laws of physics. When a vehicle is put in motion, time is passing and the vehicle uses up space on the road. The faster one goes, the more space needed. Nothing is instantaneous in driving. Braking distance is made up of three parts, Perception, Reaction and Braking. The first two in an average driver takes about 1 1/2 seconds. Braking has too many variables to be quantified.
A car will travel 62.5 meters while doing 100 kph. before the act of braking starts. But while some people are good at multitasking, they cannot multi-think. For example a juggler is able to juggle several balls at once. Yet if you ask the juggler a question, he must stop to think before answering. The same problem occurs in driving when danger looms. A driver can think of one thing only at a time. Add speed to a vehicle, the driver begins to suffer tunnel vision. The faster a vehicle moves, the further the driver needs to look ahead thus making the driver unable to pay proper attention to the areas around the vehicle.
Many people seem to think that driving is an easy task. Driving is a full time task requiring interaction with other vehicles. It is impossible to ask drivers not to be distracted.
The bottom line is, before there is an increase of the current posted speed limits many other things must be changed. The primary change needs to be a conscientious attitude whereby drivers share the road in a safe and courteous manner.
Host of “Say Dez!”
CFMU 93.3 FM and now also on 820 CHAM, The Legend
9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
A Director of D.I.G.H.A.
Driving Instructors Golden Horseshoe Association