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Post on October 28, 2014 - Road Respect

A Driving instructor’s point of view:

A few days ago, I was teaching a new pupil the importance of the use of the mirrors.

During the explanation, I asked him what would happen if he had to brake hard without checking behind and the vehicle behind hit us. “Well, it would have been the other driver’s fault anyway as he wasn’t able to stop on time” his reply was. Yes, fair enough, that probably would have been the case legally and for insurance purposes. I, then told my pupil that I wasn’t particularly concerned about the law and whose fault it was, really. I explained that if the car behind hit me, my car would have been damaged, I could be badly injured (or even killed) and being or not somebody else’s fault would not be too much help nor consolation if I had to spend months in hospital, end up in a wheelchair or even in a coffin. So, my main aim, as a driver, is not to get injured and not to injure anybody.

We live in a “who is to blame” society. Everything is “not my fault” and claim compensations, solicitors…. So I trip over while walking to the shops because a slap on the pavement wasn’t flat. Ah, it’s the Council’s fault. Really?? Isn’t it MY fault for not looking where I’m walking?? I think it is, don’t you? I am ultimately responsible for MY OWN safety.

How many of us have witness pedestrians crossing the road at the lights while texting? Yes, I know, the traffic should stop as their light is red but, will they?? How can I put my safety into their hands when I don’t even know them at all?? Guess what? I don’t! I look and check that the traffic is slowing down and stops so I’m safe to cross.

When driving on a main road, yes, I do have priority over emerging traffic and they should give me way but, will they?? I don’t rely on the other driver to do as expected so, on approach, I scan the intersection to ensure my own safety. Don’t really care whose fault it was if I got hit. I just don’t want to get hit!! Similar situation on approach to a set of green traffic lights, for instance.

Or seat-belts. As I driver, I’m responsible for my own seatbelt and passengers 14 or below years of age. Above that age, I am not legally responsible. Guess what? I am not really concerned about the law. My car does not move unless ALL passengers are belted on. If I crashed, any unbelted passenger could injure or even kill me. No chance! I’m taking responsibility for MY OWN responsibility.

The list of examples could go on and on and on… pedestrians being knocked down by cars, cyclists by trucks…

I’m sure we all want safer roads and reduce the amount of casualties but, wouldn’t it better then to put more emphasis on self-responsibility than relying on others? I, for one, I don’t really care whose fault it is. What I really care about is getting back home to my family in one piece and to do that, I will take responsibility for MY OWN safety.

Will you too?

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