[CARing Project]: Avoiding Road Accidents

Be street smart and avoid any road misfortunes.

Horrific car accidents are, unfortunately, quite common on Malaysian roads. It’s not fate or destiny that cause people to wind up in hospital (or the morgue) but plain bad driving.

It’s important to keep in mind that everytime you’re behind the wheel, you’re in control of tons metal with the potential of causing very serious harm.

In many cases, accidents are completely avoidable. Here are five major causes of road accidents and tips on how to avoid them.

Answering Calls

Mobile phones are a driver’s mortal enemy. You might believe that you’re safe if you’re using a hands free kit but nothing could be further from the truth. Studies show that, around the world, thousands of deaths and even more injuries occur because the driver was either texting or talking on the phone.

Tip: Make it a rule never to use your phone in the car. If you must answer a call, pull up at the side of the road.

Fiddling with the Radio

Every moment your eyes are off the road, could be the moment you collide into another car or pedestrian. Fiddling about with the CD changer or radio dial in your car is a very dangerous habit and should be ditched immediately. While we’re on the subject  of radios and CDs, do turn down the volume while you’re driving. Loud music can block out other important sounds like a warning honk from another vehicle.

Tip: Choose your CD or radio station before you begin your trip. For longer journeys load a CD changer with your selection of music. If you have other passengers in your car, ask them to help you change the CD.

Eating, drinking, putting on makeup

The car is a vehicle that is meant to take you from point A to point B. It is not a mobile restaurant that’s designed for eating in or dressing table on wheels designed to accommodate makeup application. The person behind the wheel needs to pay complete and undivided attention to the road and nothing else.

Tip: Try not to eat in the car or put on makeup. If you haven’t primped up properly before leaving for work, apply your lipstick in your office parking lot. If you’re hungry while driving home, pull over and have your snack while the car is safely at a stand still. If you must have your coffee while driving, make sure the takeaway cup fits into the holder. Drivers who insist on balancing a cup of scalding hot coffee between their legs have often ended up in terrible crashes when the coffee spilled all over them.

Distraction

Loud voices, sudden noises and movement inside the car can be dangerously distracting for the driver.Tell your passengers to quiet down if their loud conversation is causing you to take your eyes or your mind off the road. If you have kids in the car, tell them they’re not allowed to make sudden loud noises or throw anything in a moving car. If things are bad and your kids are pulling each others’ hair out, stop by the side of the road and discipline them. Be extra careful when you’re transporting your pets too. Animals can easily create disturbances and aren’t likely to listen to instructions!

Tip: Don’t just admonish your kids each time they distract you while you’re driving. If you give them an explanation about what will happen if mum or dad gets  behind the wheel, they’ll be more likely to listen to your instructions in the car. Never take Fluffy the Cat or Rufus the Dog to the vet or anyplace else without first placing them inside pet carriers. The last thing you want is an excited cat or dog loose inside the car!

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