During the global fuel crisis that began in 1973, the price of petrol (gasoline) soared. As the cost of travelling by motor vehicle increased, the total number of kilometres travelled per year reduced. Guess what also fell? The road toll.
In fact, the single biggest event to reduce the road toll in the USA, was the 1970's fuel crisis. No other single factor, social, political or economic has had such a direct and substantive impact on death and injury on the road; not seat-belts, ABS or driver training.
I live in Melbourne Australia, today I cannot leave the house to exercise, and I can only go shopping for food once per day, and not more than 5 kilometres away from home. My movement by motor vehicle has dramatically reduced. So too has my chance of crashing and hurting someone else, or myself.
Because I have spent my working life working in road safety, this is great news. But you might reasonably ask, "What about the deaths caused COVID?" That's a great question. Nobody would wish COVID-19 on anyone or the society in which they live. However, while thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people have died, or will die due to COVID-19, 1.2 million people die on the world's roads every year, with more than 50 million injuries recorded (according to the WHO). Around 25% of these incidents involve "vulnerable road users" including pedestrians who aren't even drivers or passengers!
So Jeremy, what are you saying? I'm saying that nobody wants to be hurt, but crashes still happen. When we see the cost (including any negative consequences) of driving as high, we tend to protect ourselves more (by driving less, or with more care when we do drive).
Here's another example. Nobody would deny that in winter the driving conditions generally get worse. With less daylight, colder temperatures, foggy windows, and roads impacted by water/snow/ice/mud, you might predict that the road toll would increase. Wrong. Why? Well generally people travel less by car in bad weather, when they do drive they cover shorter distances, and they drive more carefully. This happens virtually everywhere around the world.
So your chances of crashing are significantly influenced by:
Remember, if you decided to drive more carefully today, or you decided to drive a bit more dangerously today; it wouldn't make any real impact on your 'whole-of-life' chances of crashing. If you truly want to be safer, you need to make the decision to change today, and keep putting in the extra effort every time you drive from here on.
If you're responsible for a fleet of drivers, think about how you can create the circumstances where your team think more about how dangerous driving really is, even if they personally haven't had many crashes.
If you’d like help understanding, applying or sharing these principles, please ask. Cheers, Jeremy Williams www.drivertrainingaustralia.com.au
First published August 2020 - Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:ugcPost:6696598091547725824?updateEntityUrn=urn%3Ali%3Afs_feedUpdate%3A%28*%2Curn%3Ali%3AugcPost%3A6696598091547725824%29
My dear colleagues in road safety, please take 'more than average' care during this awful COVID pandemic. Try applying Low Risk behaviours in other areas of you life. If you find yourself taking risks, ask your self, "How was I thinking at the time?". Was I "externalising", or was I thinking, "It won't happen to me"? We look forward to seeing you on the other side of this. Thanks for your continued support. Jeremy