All Accidents Are Preventable.
Posted on January 21st, 2023

Sasanka De Silva Pannipitiya

Fatal and serious road accidents are very common reporting in the media in Sri Lanka these days.

Some common reasons for road accidents include:

  1. Distracted driving, such as using a cell phone or eating while driving.
  2. Impaired driving, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  3. Speeding or reckless driving
  4. Fatigue or drowsy driving
  5. Failing to obey traffic laws and signals.
  6. Poor weather conditions
  7. Mechanical failure or vehicle defects
  8. Poor road design or maintenance.

Several preventive steps can be taken to avoid road accidents, including:

1.     Practice safe driving habits: Always obey traffic laws and signals, and avoid distractions while driving, such as using a cell phone or eating.

2.     Avoid impaired driving: Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you plan on drinking, decide on a designated driver or use public transportation.

3.     Be alert and rested: Never drive while fatigued or drowsy. Get a good night’s sleep before a long trip and take regular breaks when driving for long periods.

4.     Maintain your vehicle: Regularly check your vehicle’s brakes, tires, lights, and other systems to ensure they are in proper working condition.

5.     Adjust your driving to road conditions: Slow down in poor weather conditions and be extra cautious around large trucks and other vehicles.

6.     Use safety devices and wear seat belts: Always use safety devices such as airbags and wear seat belts, which can greatly reduce the risk of injury in the event of an accident.

7.     Be aware of other drivers: Remember that other drivers may make mistakes, so stay alert and be prepared to take evasive action if necessary.

8.     Use of GPS and navigation system: The use of GPS and navigation system can help to reach the destination safely and avoid unfamiliar routes which may cause accidents.

9.     Be aware of your surroundings: Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when driving in unfamiliar areas or when approaching intersections and other potential hazards.

10. Take defensive driving courses: Consider taking a defensive driving course to learn how to anticipate and avoid potential hazards on the road.

There are several things that law enforcement agencies can do to prevent road accidents, including:

1.       Increase patrols and enforcement: By increasing patrols and enforcing traffic laws, law enforcement can help to reduce the number of accidents caused by reckless or negligent drivers.

2.       Conduct checkpoints and sobriety tests: Setting up checkpoints and conducting sobriety tests can help to detect and deter impaired driving.

3.       Increase education and awareness: Law enforcement agencies can work with schools and community organizations to increase education and awareness about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving.

4.       Conduct high-visibility enforcement campaigns: High-visibility enforcement campaigns can help to remind drivers to obey traffic laws and reduce the number of accidents caused by reckless or negligent behaviour.

5.       Monitor critical locations: Law enforcement agencies can identify critical locations with high accident rates and increase patrols in these areas to help prevent accidents.

6.       Increase penalties for traffic offences: Increasing penalties for traffic offences can help to deter dangerous driving behaviours.

7.       Use technology: The use of technology such as cameras, sensors and data analysis can help to identify dangerous driving behaviours and enforce traffic laws more effectively.

8.       Partner with other agencies: Law enforcement agencies can partner with other organizations, such as transportation departments, to address issues related to road safety and infrastructure.

9.       Encourage reporting of dangerous driving: Encourage the public to report dangerous driving behaviours to law enforcement, as this can help to identify and address problem areas.

10.    Work with community groups: Law enforcement agencies can work with community groups and organizations to address issues related to road safety, such as educating young drivers about the importance of safe driving.

Individuals have a responsibility to take steps to prevent accidents on the road, including:

1.       Obeying traffic laws and signals: Always obey traffic laws and signals to help ensure safe driving conditions for yourself and others on the road.

2.       Avoiding distractions: Avoid distractions while driving, such as using a cell phone or eating, to help ensure that you can react quickly to changing road conditions.

3.       Being alert and rested: Never drive while fatigued or drowsy, as this can greatly increase the risk of an accident.

4.       Maintaining your vehicle: Regularly check your vehicle’s brakes, tires, lights, and other systems to ensure they are in proper working condition, this will help to prevent accidents caused by mechanical failure.

5.       Adjusting your driving to road conditions: Slow down in poor weather conditions and be extra cautious around large trucks and other vehicles.

6.       Using safety devices and wearing seat belts: Always use safety devices such as airbags and wear seat belts, which can greatly reduce the risk of injury in the event of an accident.

7.       Being aware of other drivers: Remember that other drivers may make mistakes, so stay alert and be prepared to take evasive action if necessary.

8.       Being aware of your surroundings: Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when driving in unfamiliar areas or when approaching intersections and other potential hazards.

9. Avoid impaired driving: Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

10.    Reporting dangerous driving: Report dangerous driving behaviours to law enforcement, as this can help to identify and address problem areas.

By taking these steps, individuals can help to make the roads safer for themselves and others and reduce the risk of accidents.

Road accidents can have both visible and unseen social costs. Some examples of visible social costs include:

1.       Property damage: Accidents can result in damage to vehicles, buildings, and other property.

2.       Medical costs: Accidents can result in injuries requiring medical treatment and rehabilitation, which can be costly.

3.       Lost productivity: Accidents can result in lost productivity due to time off work for recovery and can also result in permanent disability or death.

4.       Lawsuits and legal costs: Accidents can result in lawsuits and legal costs for those involved.

5.       Insurance costs: Accidents can result in increased insurance costs for individuals and businesses.

Some examples of unseen social costs include:

1.       Psychological trauma: Accidents can result in psychological trauma for those involved, as well as for witnesses and family members.

2.       Emotional and financial burden on family and friends: Accidents can result in emotional and financial burdens on the family and friends of those involved, especially in cases of death or permanent disability.

3.       Loss of community resources: Accidents can result in the loss of community resources, such as emergency services and medical facilities.

4.       Decrease in quality of life: Accidents can result in a decrease in the overall quality of life for individuals and communities due to increased stress, reduced mobility, and decreased access to services.

5.       Impact on the environment: Accidents can also have an impact on the environment, such as pollution and damage to natural habitats.

These costs can be significant and have long-lasting effects on individuals, families, and communities.

Reducing the number of road accidents can bring several social benefits, including:

1.       Reduced medical costs: With fewer accidents, there would be fewer injuries requiring medical treatment and rehabilitation, which would lead to reduced medical costs for individuals and society as a whole.

2.       Increased productivity: With fewer accidents, there would be fewer people missing work due to injuries or recovery time, which would lead to increased productivity for individuals and businesses.

3.       Improved quality of life: With fewer accidents, there would be fewer people experiencing psychological trauma or permanent disability, which would lead to an improved quality of life for individuals and communities.

4.       Reduced insurance costs: With fewer accidents, insurance costs for individuals and businesses would be reduced.

5.       Less burden on emergency services: With fewer accidents, there would be less demand for emergency services such as ambulances and hospitals, which would free up these resources to be used for other purposes.

6.       Reduced environmental impact: With fewer accidents, there would be less pollution and damage to natural habitats caused by vehicle crashes.

7.       Increased community safety: With fewer accidents, there would be increased safety for individuals and communities, which would lead to a greater sense of security and well-being.

8.       Reduced traffic congestion: With fewer accidents, traffic congestion would be reduced, which would lead to increased mobility and improved access to services.

9.       Increased economic growth: With fewer accidents, there would be less economic disruption caused by lost productivity, reduced mobility, and increased insurance costs, which would lead to increased economic growth.

10.    Increased social cohesion: With fewer accidents, there would be less emotional and financial burden on the family and friends of those involved, which would lead to increased social cohesion.

Overall, reducing the number of road accidents would bring a wide range of social benefits, both for individuals and for society as a whole.

Some signs of dangerous driving include excessive speeding, tailgating, running red lights or stop signs, sudden lane changes, and erratic or unpredictable movements.

Additionally, a driver who is distracted, such as by using a cell phone or not paying attention to the road, can also be considered dangerous.

If you encounter a dangerous driver, it is important to stay calm and avoid engaging with them. Instead, maintain a safe distance and report the incident to the proper authorities if necessary.

Sasanka De Silva

Pannipitiya.

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