Poor motoring attitudes make our roads dangerous

  • Lucky escape: a crash last July that fortunately did not result in loss of life (Photograph by Owain Johnston-Barnes)

    Lucky escape: a crash last July that fortunately did not result in loss of life (Photograph by Owain Johnston-Barnes)

This subject has been a matter of concern for Bermudians for decades. As vehicles of all types have increased considerably in recent years, the potential for accidents has also increased.

While we accept much of this as part of growth and progress, our society is slow in fully grasping that violating basic traffic rules can be costly.

Major media campaigns aimed at trying to better sensitise the motoring public that road safety is everyone’s business has yet to hit home. Our narrow, winding roads were challenging even in the horse and buggy days — and there were accidents back then.

There will always be accidents wherever and whenever people use motorised vehicles for travel to various destinations. What bothers most road safety officials globally is trying to find ways to minimise accidents that result in pain and suffering when things go wrong.

Often in large countries where vehicles travel at high legal speeds on highways designed for such traffic, there are still horrendous mishaps that occur frequently, with loss of life and the added impact of shattering the lives of numerous families. Terrible accidents make headlines, but the real story continues with heartache for those who grieve. Every life is precious.

When high speed is involved, a mechanical or an incapacitated driver creates a situation where there is little time for correction when things go wrong.

This is always a sensitive topic because over the years many lives have been tragically lost from one end of the island to the other, and in many instances speed was a factor. When there are only seconds to make a decision when something goes drastically wrong, momentum of speed could make it difficult to gain proper control. This is why the siren is used by emergency vehicles to alert other motorists to take caution.

Few drivers or riders are without stories of how close they came to mishap from motorists with poor attitudes during their daily transit in and out of the city. During rush-hour periods, people often become agitated in heavy traffic and a little impatient, with less focus on the safety factor. As if that was not enough, despite the risk, some riders overtake two or three cars, putting oncoming traffic in danger. This happens practically every day on our roads.

Warnings by police and road safety officials perhaps has had some effect on curbing this practice, but the reality is that everyone using our roads must do better in helping to make travel safe by remembering safety rules at all times.

It also should be noted that there are many motorists who display courtesy and travel at safe speeds, which should always be commended. This not being a perfect world, most road users know that even on a Sunday afternoon pleasure drive, one has to keep their guard up, for those who travel as though rules do not apply to them.

A worrying issue for police and road safety officials is that, despite plea after plea, there are too many motorists who after consuming substances that affect judgment, persist in taking to the roads, making conditions unsafe for others.

Bermuda is without a doubt one of the most beautiful spots on the planet, and we need to keep it that way. A step in the right direction would be to get everyone to realise that while there are many factors involved, speed and reckless overtaking continue to make our roads dangerous.

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Published Feb 1, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 1, 2020 at 6:25 am)

Poor motoring attitudes make our roads dangerous

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