Road safety is something that is quite important to me. Although I don’t drive at the moment, I still passed my theory and practical driving tests with flying colours. Which surprised me. For a long time, and often still, the thought of driving terrifies me. And I truly believe it all stems from a car accident I was in back in 2004.
Being a cocky and rebellious teen I thought it was big and clever to not wear a seatbelt. I did this quite often when I was in the middle seat, between my sister and step-brother. And on the way back from a Mother’s Day meal I was caught out. Told to put on my seatbelt and make sure I always do. Begrudgingly I did it.
Twenty minutes later a car pulled out from nowhere whilst we were driving down a dark country road. There was an almighty crash. We spun off the road into a ditch. I flung forward and back into my seat. All of us were in shock and some of us in pain.
Amy had a friction burn and bruising from her seatbelt and I had a terrible pain in my lower back and shoulders. We were carried off in an ambulance, once I had been tied down to a board to keep my back and neck straight. It was terrifying to be in such shock surrounded by police, ambulances and people asking if you are okay.
After several x-rays, we were sent on our way. I was concussed and told to not move around too much for a few weeks.
But all I could think about thereafter was “what if?”
WHAT COULD’VE HAPPENED
According to THINK! without a seatbelt I would’ve been thrown towards the windscreen and would’ve either ended up dead or paralysed. You’re twice as likely to die in a car accident without wearing a seatbelt. Which is pretty terrifying.
Although my car accident had us all coming out alive and relatively unharmed, I still suffer from back and shoulder pain to this day. Not only that, but driving lessons triggered a large amount anxiety for me. However, I’ve decided to take the plunge and soon I shall be re-doing lessons in an automatic vehicle to help build my confidence. I’ll let you know how it goes!
We all know you should drive within the speed limits, wearing a seatbelt and not using a phone. But there are a few other bits that can often cause accidents. Bad weather, distractions (including passengers, radio and sat navs) and other drivers, are triggers for road fatalities. According to GOV.UK 1,713 people were killed in reported road traffic accidents in Great Britain. Lower than that in 2012 but 1,713 more than what there should’ve been.
It’s important that you limit the distractions whilst you drive and be well prepared beforehand. This includes planning your journey.
Some places have terrible and dangerous roads. For example, Ireland has some incredibly dangerous, although beautiful roads. Here is an infographic, provided by Chill.ie who have put together some information on Ireland’s most dangerous drives.
So before you travel anywhere, even in the UK and Ireland, be sure to research where you’re going. Look at the road conditions and be prepared. No fiddling about with the sat nav half way through the journey, or changing stations on the radio. And be sure to wear you seat belt.