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We have forgotten basic road safety rules

Driving in the dark can prove hazardous

Dear Sir,

In the run-up to Christmas and the year’s end, I sincerely hope that we have no further additions to the road fatality statistics.

While there are many factors in road deaths, one area that requires particular attention and education is the standard of driving. While speed and/or alcohol may be the largest contributing factors to road accidents, plain and simple bad driving are also key factors.

I would like to point out to all drivers that the small stick beside the steering wheel is not for carrying shopping — like the hooks that scooters have — but to indicate to traffic your intended direction. The clue is in the name “indicator”. When using the indicator stalk, to give it its full name, you are required to adopt a pattern for its correct use: indicate first, then brake. It is most certainly not slam on the brakes and at the last minute indicate.

Being clearly visible as a motorist or a pedestrian is key to safety.

Would you walk down a dark, busy lane without any reflectors/lights? Then why do so many drivers fail to turn their lights on when it is dawn or dusk, or just plain dark. At what stage do you think to yourself: “It’s not quite dark enough just yet to turn my lights on, I’ll wait a little bit longer.”

If in doubt, turn them on; people can see you more clearly. Do these same people sit at home reading the newspaper squinting thinking the same thing: “Not quite dark enough to read, if I squint really, really hard.”

I always drive my car with the lights on low beam, day or night.

The reason for this is that it is proven statistically that you make yourself more visible to other drivers. I

am constantly surprised the amount of people who flash me, or point to me notifying me that my lights are on. I know. It’s intentional.

Not only does the poor quality of driving contribute to accidents, it is also a significant factor in congestion in Hamilton, especially nearing Christmas.

I have lost count of the amount of times cars simply stop for no other reason than to go to an ATM, get coffee, collect dry cleaning etc, all the time blocking one entire lane and forcing cars to go around.

In other cities across the globe, traffic wardens or police would pounce on you and move you on. Failure to do so would mean a fine or your car being towed.

I sincerely believe this type of enforcement is required here: an Operation Free Flow to keep traffic moving.

The standard of driving must improve to reduce road accidents and I believe there are two key factors to this: driver attitudes and standards, and enforcement.