Bigger blind spots part of problem?


Sixteen people were killed on the road over the official Christmas holiday period:

This compared with seven deaths last year, and six the year before.

This came despite a zero-tolerance campaign for speeding, which critics argued had done nothing to reduce the toll. . .

One holiday period with a zero-tolerance for anyone exceeding 100 kph is not enough to draw conclusions on its effectiveness.

Speed is a factor in accidents but there are others and I wonder if the design on modern vehicles which makes them safer also makes them more dangerous?

The two vehicles I drive most often are a Holden Cruze and a Toyota Prado.

Both have substantial posts between the front and side windows and the rear and side windows  I’ve noticed this in other newer vehicles I’ve driven too.

They are designed to be safer in an accident but also make much bigger blind spots than in older vehicles.

Drivers have to do more than turn their heads to see round them. They have to lean forward and backwards at intersections, or when pulling out of parks or to pass.

Could it be that drivers accustomed to older vehicles with less substantial posts between the windows look left, right and behind but don’t see properly?

It is of course the driver’s responsibility to ensure s/he not only looks but also sees.

That is more difficult in many modern vehicles and reinforces the advice from a friend who specialises in three-dimensional thinking and had done a lot of work on road safety.

Any time you’re checking for traffic you should look, look away and look back.

That way you’re more likely to see anything that might have been in your blind spot and you will also be able to better judge the speed of anything you see to which you might have to give-way.

That reminds me of the mantra we were taught as child pedestrians – look right, look, left and look right again before you cross the road. It should be standard practice for drivers too.

Lowest road toll since 1950


Safer roads and vehicles and better driving are factors in the lowest road toll since 1950.

As of Tuesday morning, 254 people have died on the roads this year – 17% fewer than last year.

In the last 60 years the only other year with a road toll below 300 was in 2011.

AA general manager of motoring affairs Mike Noon says 2013 has seen the lowest number of people killed in road crashes since 1950, when the road toll was 232. . . .

Mr Noon says vehicle and road safety are big factors driving down road deaths, while people’s driving habits, and attitudes to road safety have also improved.

The road toll doesn’t record non-fatal injuries and the numbers don’t reflect the impact even one death has on family and friends.

But a lower toll is encouraging.

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