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Road Rules: Do You Practice These Six Basic Road Safety Rules?

by Lou-Ann Jordan Mar 20, 2023

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It’s time to dust off your Highway Code manual.

In this two-part series, Yello will guide you in being safe on the nation’s roads. In our follow-up issue, we’ll remind you of some of the road procedures that are often neglected.

Whether you’re a pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist or driver, it’s easy to pinpoint other people’s errors on the road. We may marvel at the lack of consideration some drivers display as they blind others with their headlights. 

We may even utter derisive remarks when motorcyclists speed by without appropriate headgear or ignore traffic light signals. In those moments, annoyed, we often question how they acquired their licenses.

Our irritation lies in the fact that we know we are all responsible for ensuring our practices are safe on the road. In truth, our negligence affects others. As such, we must all commit to exercising road safety.

The Pan American Health Organisation defines road safety as measures taken to reduce the risk of road traffic injuries and death. As pedestrians, cyclists and motorists we should familiarise ourselves with the relevant road rules. Adherence to the road rules will ensure the safety of others.

So it’s time to dust off your Highway Code manual. Get ready to learn or be reminded of the basic road rules.

Before we jump into the rules, there are a few things you should know.

World Health Organization (WHO) 2022 Statistics

  • Approximately 1.35 million people die each year worldwide from road traffic accidents.
  • 93% of the world’s fatalities on the roads occur in low and middle-income countries.
  • Approximately 73% of all road fatalities occur among men 25 years and under.
  • Many of the people who have non-fatal injuries end up with a disability.
  • Road collision is the leading cause of death for people 29 years and under.

Remember we all share the responsibility for keeping our roads safe. Here are six basic road safety practices you can adopt:

1. Control your speed. The risk of crashing increases with speed. The WHO states that for every 1% increase in mean speed, there is a 4% increase in the risk of a fatal crash.

2. Wear your helmet. Donning a good quality helmet reduces the risk of death and severe injuries for cyclists and motorists. A word of caution: be sure to fasten your helmet.

3. Refrain from handling your mobile device. Cell phones are a grave distraction when driving.   The WHO reports that mobile phone use while driving (whether hand-held or hands-free) increases the chance of a crash by four times.  The organisation states that text messaging is riskier by 23 times.  The fact is as a driver your reaction time is 50% slower when you’re on the phone.

4. Fasten your seatbelt. It’s the law. Often some people complain that it’s uncomfortable. Nevertheless, the discomfort is insignificant compared to sustaining injuries.  Wearing your seatbelt reduces the likelihood of front seat occupants being injured by 45-50% and those in the rear by 25  70%.

5. Use appropriate child restraints. In the case of a collision, restraints are essential in protecting children. Moreover, it reduces the risk by approximately 60%. The WHO advises the use of booster seats for children 8 to 12 years old. While booster seats are not a legal requirement, it is advisable to use restraints for children sitting in the rear. Do not let your child sit up between the two front seats.

6. Do not drink and drive. Whether operating a car or motorcycle, a motorist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05% and above is at a higher risk of crashing. Be sure you do not exceed the national BAC limit.

Stay tuned for our next Road Rules issue where we’ll take a look at the Highway Code.

Sources: World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization and Stanford University.