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Drivers Must Be More Vigilant

Drivers Must Be More Vigilant

Anyone who has seen the television public service film about the motorcyclist crashing into the side of a car that has pulled out of a junction can’t help but be alarmed at how easily and suddenly accidents can happen. As drivers, it is easy to become complacent and we forget the constant need for vigilance on the roads.

It seems that fifty-eight per cent of drivers say they have been cut-up by another road user who didn’t look properly, according to a recent Institute of Advanced Motorist’s poll. Forty per cent of these near misses took place in 30 mile per hour zones, apparently. Fifty-eight per cent of drivers are most likely to blame others for not concentrating. These incidents have become known as SMIDSYs – ‘sorry mate, I didn’t see you’. The usual reaction when an accident occurs.

The Cyclists Touring Club have been campaigning for years about SMIDSYs – other driver’s negligence – when it comes to bikes. They say, rather hysterically, “Bad driving intimidates and harms innocent people. Cyclists and pedestrians are particularly endangered by negligent or aggressive driving because we’re not encased in a few tonnes of metal every time we set out on the roads.”

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) have analysed the figures and note that failure to look is a contributory factor in 29% of serious collisions and 36% of minor accidents. Often it is cyclists, motorised or otherwise, who come off worse. 83% of drivers said that these accidents would decrease by improving drivers awareness of two-wheelers. This is rather stating the obvious and, on the other side of the argument, 59% of drivers thought that there should be more enforcement of the law for cyclists. Fair comment.

The IAM wants drivers to signal clearly and be more alert to two-wheeled vehicles by checking mirrors carefully, both behind and down the sides of cars, especially when making a manoeuvre. Many cyclists in particular have been cut up by cars turning left. IAM‘s head honcho, Simon Best says:

“SMIDSY moments are happening far too often, and very few people are prepared to take responsibility for their part in them. It’s always someone else’s fault. All road users need to be more aware of who they are sharing the road with, and the risks they present. Other road users’ intentions can often be guessed by their body language and position on the road, so drive defensively, and leave room so that if somebody does do something unexpected, you have time to deal with it.”

All good advice, of course, but all road users whether on foot, two wheels or four, need to be vigilant. You can’t always blame the driver for your own stupidity.

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- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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