In these so-called modern times, people are under constant stress from bumper-to-bumper commutes, roadway courtesy is a lost art, too many drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
According to the World Health Organization, traffic fatalities worldwide exceed 1.2 million annually, with an additional 50 million disabling injuries.
Motorists simply are not taking their driving task seriously.
In a study conducted by Liverpool Victoria Insurance, "Driven to distraction by our children," drivers reported loss of concentration when driving due to:
- Hand-held mobile phones
- Using audio entertainment
- Eating and drinking while driving
- Using satellite navigation
A University of Utah study, "A Comparison of the Cell Phone Driver and the Drunk Driver," found that "…the impairments associated with using a cell phone while driving can be as profound as those associated with driving while drunk." Furthermore, the impairment levels were similar whether the cell phones were used in handheld or hands-free mode.
And according to the National Safety Council, 25% drivers using cell phones fail to see up to 50% of the information in their environment.
Turn Signal Use
Perhaps no study symbolizes the lack of thoughtfulness on the road more than one conducted by Response Insurance. They found that 57% of drivers admitted they don't use their turn signal when changing lanes. Their reasons?
- They don't have time (47%)
- They're too lazy to bother (23%)
- Fear of forgetting to turn it off (17%)
- Too busy changing lanes a lot to use it (11%)
- Adds excitement to driving (7%)
MSF’s Key Messages
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has its own outline of key messages for drivers, with an eye toward protecting one particular vulnerable party -- motorcyclists:
- Look For Motorcyclists -- Use your eyes and mirrors to see what's around, and check the blind spots when you're changing lanes or turning at intersections. Look, and look again.
- Focus on Driving -- Hang up the phone, put down the MP3 player, settle the passengers, and drive.
- Use Your Turn Signals -- Signal your intentions for everyone's safety.
- Give Two-Wheelers Some Room -- Don't tailgate or pass too closely.
- Take Your Time -- Nothing is as important as the safety of your loved ones, yourself, and the others with whom you share the road.
All these principles can be boiled down to this paraphrase of the Golden Rule: Drive near others as you would have others drive near you.