Guest column by Derek Haines
RCIPS Inspector Dwayne Jones recently said that poor driving is the root cause of traffic accidents.
I agree with him and, while the majority of the thousands of motorists on our roads are law-abiding, too high a number of the drivers become horned beasts when they get behind the wheel. Some of their driving is far below the poor standard and appalling seems a better adjective.
As a regular runner I witness numerous blatant and willful transgressions of the traffic laws that threaten to put other road users at extreme risk of serious injury or worse. I am amazed that I have survived for so long.
Some of the offences being committed that I observe daily include:
The posted speed limits are not advisory or for the driver’s discretion. Yet vehicles whistle along the roads at far greater speeds than those posted.
A solid white line painted down the centre of the road is an instruction not to overtake. There are a number of sections on the South Sound Road that have these.
One is from Bel Air to the dock and yet every morning I see vehicles flashing down the outside of traffic in contravention of the law. Added to this risk are drivers who are turning left from an entrance or side road.
Many of these only look right and pull out if it is clear that way. Unfortunately for some they then meet an overtaking vehicle traveling head-on.
Most runners face the oncoming traffic. A big danger comes from vehicles coming from behind them. overtaking through the gap between the vehicle they are passing and a runner.
Many drivers do not give walkers, runners and cyclists enough clearance when passing them.
For safety several feet should be left between them as the air pressure caused, particularly at speed, can cause a stumble or create a situation where those people can be pulled into the vehicle.
There remains a high percentage of drivers who chat or, even worse, text when on the road. I was driving behind a dirty, blue Toyota Yaris the other day that slowed down, sped up and swerved side to side as the driver used his cell phone.
At dusk and dawn too many drivers fail to switch on their lights. The lights on vehicles are not just to illuminate the way for the driver but allow others to see the vehicle. Please light up in the gloom and inclement weather.
Walkers, runners and cyclists also have obligations, though, and I urge you all to wear bright-coloured clothing and wear a light on your vest or shorts.
The cost, in personal loss, finance and in police manpower, of road traffic accidents is huge, particularly when there is serious injury or death. It behooves us all to concentrate on our road using skills and obey the traffic laws.