Is it the road or the driver?
When I was a kid, I played on the road. I played street hockey and played catch with the football and with a baseball. When I got hurt while on the road, I didn’t blame the road. If there was a patch of ice and I slipped on it, I couldn’t blame the road, now could I? If that’s how we acted as kids, why are we blaming the roads if there’s a car crash?
I wish we could eliminate all crashes. That would be awesome, yet unlikely since we need cooperation from so many factors. If only we could drive like we do many other things. For example, if there’s a lot of snow outside, we wear the proper footwear to help us avoid slipping while walking. But if we slide on a slippery road while driving, we blame the road. Perhaps we shouldn’t even been out on the road that day. We also don’t look at the tires on our vehicle. I think we should.
I often hear in the media about how people call a certain road “a killer highway” or such. It’s very tragic that people are injured or killed while driving, but we need to face facts. If we crashed because of driver error, admit it. When I was 19 years old, I lost control of my car on Groundhog Day. I slid and ended up in the ditch. On my way to the ditch I bounced off 6 trees. Yes, 6 trees. I went back later and counted 6 trees that had blue paint on them. Could this have been avoided? The police said it was because of the road conditions, but really it was because I should have had better tires on my car. When I lost control, I looked at the trees and hit them. I went where I was looking. That’s basic hand-eye co-ordination.
I remember hearing about a major Canadian highway having a multiple vehicle crash on a foggy day. The media called it “a killer highway” again. The road didn’t force the drivers into the crash. The driver’s decisions did. Why would you drive as fast as you normally would when you can only see a fraction of the distance in front as you normally would? Once your visibility is reduced, you need to reduce your speed. You need time to see, think and respond. If the fog reduces your chance, slow down and don’t blame the road for your decisions.
Always think “what if” as you drive. What if the cyclist falls in my path? What if the driver behind can’t stop in time because of the wet road? What if the car in front of me suddenly slammed on their brakes? If you drive like this, you’ll be a very proactive driver since you’ll be thinking about the potential problem. Be sure you also respond proactively, such as a lane change before its really needed, or by slowing early. Let’s take ownership and put the blame where it belongs; the driver, not the road.
**For another related topic, try this; When is bad weather bad enough to stop driving?**