Monday, 19 August 2013

Perception of Road Safety after Passing Driving Test

Last year I announced on my blog that I was finally taking driving lessons. I was really lucky and was recommended on Twitter (yay to social media!) a really patient and understanding driving instructor Paul Sealey, who's been fantastic throughout. I didn't look at the Highway code until months later into my lessons but he didn't push me and was patiently explaining the highway code to me during the lessons.

Before learning how to drive, I had a lot of misconceptions about road safety from a driver's point of view. Different people have been telling me different things, and all I could do was to believe in them. Having learned how to drive, I realised that most of them were myths or simply wrong. I obviously had a good laugh about the misconceptions after, however, it could have been really dangerous for me and my children should I have continued to believe in them and do them myself.

Having read through the Highway code, my first thought was that it should not be a code read only by those who are taking tests for driving or motorcycling. It should really be read by everyone who uses the road, including pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. Someone once told me that as a pedestrian, we could just cross the road slowly and it's the drivers' responsibility to make sure that they don't hit us. How ridiculous is that? After reading the Highway Code, I understood that it is everyone's responsibility to make sure that they themselves and those they are responsible for are safe. As long as we always consider our own safety, everyone on the road should be safe. For example, crashing into a cyclist will affect your own safety. They are hazard to you, so you should be aware of them and not counting on them to see you and avoid you.

Obviously, there are still a lot of ignorant people on the road who doesn't seem to care about anyone's safety, which is reflected by the amount insurance companies charge for new drivers' car insurance (good that because I'm a mature driver, mine is about a third lower than those who are seventeen or eighteen!). It does make me feel really nervous on the road as even though I have done my best, I can't be 100% sure that I will not be involved in a road traffic accident. I really hope that this will never happen to me, especially when my children are in my car, and I'll never need to visit road traffic accident sites for advice.

If you are a parent like me, perhaps you'll also consider letting your children understand the highway code way before they start to learn how to drive, to make them understand what it really is about instead of it being something to pass their test.