Slow down. It’s a long-standing message but one that is always worth repeating, which is why AA Ireland are pleased to support National Slow Down Day, a road safety initiative led by An Garda Síochána.
Running from 7am on Friday 11th to 7am on Saturday 12th December, the campaign urges drivers to ‘Slow Down’, with the aim to reduce the number of speed-related collisions, save lives and reduce injuries on our roads. Gardaí will get the message out with high-visibility in 1300 speed enforcement zones and through various media channels.
There is no room for complacency. In 2019, there were 140 deaths on Irish roads and as of 10th December 2020, there have been 137 road fatalities recorded this year, an increase of 9 on this date last year. In the first 10 months of this year, speeding detections were up 26% on the same period last year – at 151,055. With National Slow Down Day in mind, The AA is encouraging drivers to be mindful of their speed and be aware of the needs of vulnerable road users.
An RSA report on fatal collisions between 2008 and 2012 found that excessive speed contributed to one in every three fatal collisions during that time. But it is avoidable, and even small changes can make a big difference – as a general rule a 1% reduction in average speed will bring about a 4% reduction in fatal collisions. This is why reducing motorists’ speed is essential to improving road safety.
The campaign highlights how vulnerable road-users are more at risk in darker, wetter conditions. More people are exercising outdoors this past year – be it walking, jogging or cycling – and this weekend, towns and cities are likely to be busy with pedestrians out shopping for Christmas.
Pedestrians and cyclists are more vulnerable than ever these days as they navigate social distancing on roadsides – you can minimise the risk to them by slowing down. John Caulfield, CEO of the RSA says that a pedestrian or cyclist hit by a vehicle travelling at 60kmph has a 10% chance of surviving; if they’re hit at 30kmph, they have a 90% chance at survival. Slowing down not only prevents against fatalities, but also allows the driver more time to react to a hazard. Read more about sharing the road with vulnerable road users here.
“I think we all accept that, when it comes to the rules of the road, some motorists are guilty of regularly exceeding the speed limit or ignoring other laws designed to prevent serious accidents,” says Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs. “When it comes to driving behaviour, many of us are guilty of under appreciating how dangerous driving is because we do it so regularly. Speeding only magnifies the danger that you pose to yourself and other road users, particularly cyclists and pedestrians. Not only does it significantly increase your chances of being in a crash, it also makes the outcome of any incident more severe.”
Photo by Mick Garratt