Tag Archive | "accidents"

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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Spending Down – Car Deaths Up

We all hate interference from others, especially politicians and councils. Thus, in a way, it was a relief to appreciably notice that, over the last couple of years, over-zealous use of speed cameras and the resources of the authorities seem to have been scaled back; clearly as a result of nationwide cutbacks. So, it’s all good for drivers then, right?

Well no, apparently not. It seems that some fifty English councils saw an average of around a ten percent increase in persons killed or injured since 2010. Although that’s a national average it seems, rather bizarrely, that there are localised hotspots. In St Helens for example, there has been a 62% increase. That’s a lot. Portsmouth, Stoke on Trent and Coventry all showed figures in excess of 50%. There seems to be no explanation of why these specific towns are so afflicted. A further 76 councils showed increases.

The over-arching reason seems to be clear. In 2011 local councils slashed their road budgets by 15% and it has clearly made a big difference. There isn’t space here to examine why they choose to cut funds in an area where life and limb is involved instead of looking harder at other council functions. It seems to be the easy option as usual. Still, there we are.

In the London Borough of Croydon, the number of injuries and fatalities rose from 87 to 109 between 2010/11. In trendy Islington the rate was highest of all best-horoscope.com female is rarely able to tell the difference between really important things and insubstantial trifles. for the London area. Possibly the most alarming statistic of all concerns the number of people killed. The 1850 in 2010 has risen to 1901 in 2011. This is the first increase since 2003 – previously councils were recording a year-on-year decrease – and this is despite all the safety technology on modern cars.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists is concerned about this carnage. They have previously considered that traffic accidents drop during a recession – and we’re certainly in one of those – and are dismayed after several years of consistently reducing numbers. They put the blame squarely at the feet of ministers and councillors. Their view is that cutting road safety education and reducing local council spending is a mistake and that the authorities are not seeing road safety as a priority.

Maybe if those ‘in charge’ began to look at new and innovative ways of reducing tragedy on the road instead of blithely blaming ‘cuts’ and leaving it at that, we might think they were actually concerned about it.

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Crash for Cash

Figures released by the Department for Transport have revealed that the number of reported casualties in 2010 was 6% lower than the previous year. Fatalities were down an impressive 17% on the 2009 figure, yet we continue to pay higher premiums year on year and beleaguered drivers can‘t understand why. The AA insists that the root cause is “soaring fraud and personal injury claim costs”. In short, the majority suffer for the benefit of the crooked or stupid elements of the population. The Association of British Insurers is on record as saying that the Government must do something about the “unacceptable cost pressures that insurers are facing”. The Prime Minister meanwhile states that he is “considering radical reforms” to tackle the UK’s “compensation culture”. We would all be happy if he would do this sooner rather than later.

Basically, it is no good moaning at the agent on the other end of the ‘phone come renewal time. We blame the companies but would our ire be better deployed at those crooked individuals who are taking advantage of the car insurance system?

Readers will have probably have heard of defensive driving techniques – of which more elsewhere on Motor Blogger – and is a technique well worth considering in these litigious times. For example, you may have heard of the term ‘slam-on’. This is when a driver will deliberately slam on their brakes thus ensuring the innocent party crashes into the back of them. A claim swiftly ensues for the car, the driver and the four other people in the car with him – whether they were there or not. Unless you have tremendous presence of mind, witnesses and other forms of evidence, then try proving otherwise. This is the method of choice for opportunists and criminals alike. Criminal claims is a massive business involving fraudsters and possibly repairers and ‘claims management companies’.

Obviously the insurance companies and police work to stop this activity but those that escape are probably responsible for adding £50+ to your premium. In addition to this you have to factor in uninsured drivers. There is always an irresponsible element who simply don’t bother, pick up an old banger and leg it when they have a collision. Add this on to the cases where folk can’t afford to insure their cars – a growing problem – yet think it won’t hurt just to pop to the shops. Getting involved with these people means that it’s your policy that’s going to foot the bill and you can probably kiss your hard earned no claims discount goodbye as well. Annually, these drivers are probably adding another £50+ to your bill.

Couple this with the number of spurious whiplash claims generated by unscrupulous ‘no win no fee’ bandits and their dim-witted dupes and it would not be a surprise if some £150 – £200 of your annual bill is your donation to crooks. Let us sincerely hope that the Government act soon. Remind your MP.

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