With us coming up to the halfway mark of our second national lockdown, the roads are empty once again. Due to emptier roads, it seems those of us who are not impacted by the virus are braving the British winter weather and walking and cycling more often.
Unfortunately, at the height of the first national lockdown we saw opportunistic road users taking advantage of the empty roads and using it as an excuse to drive recklessly. With the second lockdown now in full swing we are expecting the same behaviour to reappear.
Road Safety Week, founded in 1997 and run between 16-22 November by the road safety charity Brake, is an opportunity for us to reflect and educate ourselves on the consequences of dangerous driving. Each year Brake focuses on a different theme of road safety, and for 2020 they have appropriately chosen ‘NO NEED FOR SPEED’. Even an extra 1 mile per hour in a crash can decide whether or not there is a fatality in the accident and Brake’s vision is a world where everyone moves in a safe and healthy way where there is no need for vehicles to speed. Tragically, every 24 seconds someone is killed on a road and 1 in 4 are caused by excessive speed leading to more than 1.3 million people to die every year.
Road Safety Week is about encouraging those with a heavy right foot to abide by the legal speed limit and to try and think about others around them than just themselves, as when you are on the road it is not only your safety you have to consider. On the flip side, to avoid any chance of yourself being involved in a road traffic accident, whether you’re a pedestrian or cyclist, you can plan your route and avoid being on main or busy roads, but you must always be wary of vehicles around you, especially down country lanes. Try to avoid listening to music whilst you walk or ride as this can hinder your ability to react to any potential dangers.
Road Safety Week is a time to encourage individuals to learn what a safe speed is, speak with families and friends who may travel too fast and actively take appropriate steps to help keep people safe. By being safe both outside and inside a vehicle, we can help reduce the number of incidents caused by excessive speed.