Driving thought: Can we really blame the weather?
Headlines from all over the world blame the weather and road conditions for accidents:
My feeling is that when we blame the weather, it makes it seem as if some accidents are unavoidable.
Surely the weather is just a contributing factor?
What is the weather responsible for?
* Reducing visibility
* Melting roads
* Making roads icy or slippery
* Making it windy on a road and/or creating debris
* Creating standing water or flooded areas
What is a driver responsible for?
* Reading the road conditions and constantly assessing surface grip
* Anticipating changes to the road surface
* Reading road signs
* Looking for potential hazards on the road
* Anticipating other road users' actions
* Adjusting following distances
* Controlling visibility - keeping the windscreen clear
* Using lights to see and be seen
* Using sun visor or sunglasses to cut out glare
* Deciding when and where to overtake
* Deciding when and where to pull over and let others pass
* Deciding how to approach and react to standing water
* Maintaining the vehicle, checking tyre pressures and tread
* Updating driver skills and knowledge
* Adjusting vehicle position on the road
* Adjusting vehicle speed
The weather is a factor, for sure, but there is still a whole HEAP of stuff that we can do to reduce its risk, starting with paying attention, reading the conditions and decreasing speed.
I think we need to take responsibility for our own actions. No matter how bad the road, the conditions, or the visibility – as a driver we can still influence our risk of having an accident.
There are sudden, freak events we can't do much about, of course, but thankfully these aren't common. Slippery roads caused by the weather, on the other hand, are something we all need to be prepared for.
Buckle up, buttercups, and drive for the weather :-)