Snowy Road Accidents Essay

Causes of Road Accidents

Road accident is most unwanted thing to happen to a road user, though they happen quite often. The most unfortunate thing is that we don't learn from our mistakes on road. Most of the road users are quite well aware of the general rules and safety measures while using roads but it is only the laxity on part of road users, which cause accidents and crashes. Main cause of accidents and crashes are due to human errors. We are elaborating some of the common behaviour of humans which results in accident.

1.Over Speeding
2.Drunken Driving
3.Distractions to Driver
4.Red Light Jumping
5.Avoiding Safety Gears like Seat belts and Helmets
6.Non-adherence to lane driving and overtaking in a wrong manner

Various national and international researches have found these as most common behavior of Road drivers, which leads to accidents.


Over Speeding:

Most of the fatal accidents occur due to over speeding. It is a natural psyche of humans to excel. If given a chance man is sure to achieve infinity in speed. But when we are sharing the road with other users we will always remain behind some or other vehicle. Increase in speed multiplies the risk of accident and severity of injury during accident. Faster vehicles are more prone to accident than the slower one and the severity of accident will also be more in case of faster the severity of accident will also be more in case of faster vehicles. Higher the speed, greater the risk. At high speed the vehicle needs greater distance to stop i.e. braking distance. A slower vehicle comes to halt immediately while faster one takes long way to stop and also skids a long distance due to law of notion. A vehicle moving on high speed will have greater impact during the crash and hence will cause more injuries. The ability to judge the forthcoming events also gets reduced while driving at faster speed which causes error in judgment and finally a crash.


Drunken Driving:

Consumption of alcohol to celebrate any occasion is common. But when mixed with driving it turns celebration into a misfortune. Alcohol reduces concentration. It decreases reaction time of a human body. Limbs take more to react to the instructions of brain. It hampers vision due to dizziness. Alcohol dampens fear and incite humans to take risks. All these factors while driving cause accidents and many a times it proves fatal. For every increase of 0.05 blood alcohol concentration, the risk of accident doubles. Apart from alcohol many drugs, medicines also affect the skills and concentration necessary for driving. First of all, we recommend not to consume alcohol. But if you feel your merrymaking is not complete without booze, do not drive under the influence of alcohol. Ask a teetotaler friend to drop you home.



Distraction to Driver:

Though distraction while driving could be minor but it can cause major accidents.

Distractions could be outside or inside the vehicle. The major distraction now a days is talking on mobile phone while driving. Act of talking on phone occupies major portion of brain and the smaller part handles the driving skills. This division of brain hampers reaction time and ability of judgement. This becomes one of the reasons of crashes. One should not attend to telephone calls while driving. If the call is urgent one should pull out beside the road and attend the call. Some of the distractions on road are:

1.Adjusting mirrors while driving
2.Stereo/Radio in vehicle
3.Animals on the road
4.Banners and billboards.

The driver should not be distracted due to these things and reduce speed to remain safe during diversions and other kind of outside distractions.


Red Light jumping:

It is a common sight at road intersections that vehicles cross without caring for the light. The main motive behind Red light jumping is saving time. The common conception is that stopping at red signal is wastage of time and fuel. Studies have shown that traffic signals followed properly by all drivers saves time and commuters reach destination safely and timely. A red light jumper not only jeopardizes his life but also the safety of other road users. This act by one driver incites other driver to attempt it and finally causes chaos at crossing. This chaos at intersection is the main cause of traffic jams. Eventually everybody gets late to their destinations. It has also been seen that the red light jumper crosses the intersection with greater speed to avoid crash and challan but it hampers his ability to judge the ongoing traffic and quite often crashes.



Avoiding Safety Gears like seat belts and helmets:

Use of seat belt in four-wheeler is now mandatory and not wearing seat belt invites penalty, same in the case of helmets for two wheeler drivers. Wearing seat belts and helmet has been brought under law after proven studies that these two things reduce the severity of injury during accidents. Wearing seat belts and helmets doubles the chances of survival in a serious accident. Safety Gears keep you intact and safe in case of accidents. Two wheeler deaths have been drastically reduced after use of helmet has been made mandatory. One should use safety gears of prescribed standard and tie them properly for optimum safety.

Detrimental effects of traffic on environment

1. Safety 2. Noise 3. Land Consumption 4. Air Pollution 5. Degrading the Aesthetics


How different factors of Roads contribute in Accidents:

Drivers: Over-speeding, rash driving, violation of rules, failure to understand signs, fatigue, alcohol.
Pedestrian: Carelessness, illiteracy, crossing at wrong places moving on carriageway, Jaywalkers.
Passengers: Projecting their body outside vehicle, by talking to drivers, alighting and boarding vehicle from wrong side travelling on footboards, catching a running bus etc.
Vehicles: Failure of brakes or steering, tyre burst, insufficient headlights, overloading, projecting loads.
Road Conditions: Potholes, damaged road, eroded road merging of rural roads with highways, diversions, illegal speed breakers.
Weather conditions: Fog, snow, heavy rainfall, wind storms, hail storms.

Preventive measures for accidents:

  1. Education and awareness about road safety
  2. Strict Enforcement of Law
  3. Engineering:
    (a) Vehicle design (b) Road infrastructure

Direct Consequences of Accidents:

1 Fatality (Death) 2. Injury 3. Property Damage

 

Courtesy:- Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India

Preparing for Winter Driving – How to Drive in Snow and Ice

The three key elements to safe winter driving are:

  • Stay alert; 
  • Slow down; and 
  • Stay in control

It is best to winterize your vehicle before winter strikes. Schedule a maintenancecheck-up for the vehicle’s tires and tire pressure, battery, belts and hoses, radiator,oil, lights, brakes, exhaust system, heater/defroster, wipers and ignition system.Keep your gas tank sufficiently full – at least half a tank is recommended. Dependingupon where you drive, you may consider using winter tires or tire chains.

Winter driving conditions such as rain, snow, and ice dramatically affect the brakingdistance of a vehicle. The driver’s capability to complete a smooth and safe stopis severely limited due to reduced tire traction. In order to stop safely, the vehicle’swheels must maintain traction by remaining on contact with the road surface while rolling, referred to as “rolling traction.” When handling slippery winter roads,the keys to safety are slower speeds, gentler stops and turns, and increased followingdistances. It is recommended that drivers reduce their speed to half the postedspeed limit or less under snowy road conditions.

Don’t try to stretch more miles from your tires during the winter months. If yourtread depth is getting low, it can have serious effects on dry pavement, but thoseeffects are multiplied in wet and snowy conditions. When in doubt, get new tires.

Tire pressure usually lowers itself in winter and raises itself in summer. Under-inflatedtires can cause a car to react more slowly to steering. Every time the outside temperaturedrops ten degrees, the air pressure inside your tires goes down about one or two PSI. Tires lose air normally through the process of permeation. Drivers should checktheir tire pressures frequently during cold weather, adding enough air to keep themat recommended levels of inflation at all times.

Sand and salt play a big role in keeping roads safe. The spreading of road saltprevents snow and ice from bonding to the road surface, which is why salt is usuallyspread early in a storm to prevent snow build-up and to aid in snow removal operations.

Unlike salt, sand does not melt and therefore helps by providing traction on slippery surfaces. Sand is often used when temperatures are too low for salt to be effectiveor at higher temperatures for Immediatee traction, particularly on hills, curves,bridges, intersections and on snow-packed roads.

Caution must be used when snowplowsare on the roadways as snowplows and salt and sand trucks travel much slower thanregular traffic. Passing a snowplow can be extremely dangerous as sight lines andvisibility near a working snowplow are severely restricted by blowing snow.

Roadsare typically cooler in shady areas and drivers may encounter another extremelydangerous element known as “black ice.” Always slow down your vehicle when you seeshady areas under these types of conditions.

Here are some safe-driving tips that will help you when roads are slick with iceor snow:

  • Get the feel of the road by starting out slowly and testing your steering control and braking ability. Avoid spinning your tires when you start by gently pressing your gas pedal until the car starts to roll. Start slowing down at least three times sooner than you normally would when turning or stopping.
  • Equip your vehicle with chains or snow tires. Chains are by far the most effective, and they should be used where ice and snow remain on the roadway. Remember that snow tires will slide on ice or packed snow so keep your distance.
  • Reduce your speed to correspond with conditions. There is no such thing as a “safe” speed range at which you may drive on snow or ice. You must be extremely cautious until you are able to determine how much traction you can expect from your tires.
  • When stopping, avoid sudden movements of the steering wheel and pump the brake gently. Avoid locking of brakes on glazed ice as it will cause a loss of steering and control. Every city block and every mile of highway may be different, depending upon sun or shade and the surface of the roadway. (Check your vehicle owner’s manual, if the vehicle has anti-lock brakes, you may apply steady pressure to the brake pedal.)
  • Maintain a safe interval between you and the car ahead of you according to the conditions of the pavement. Many needless rear-end crashes occur on icy streets because drivers forget to leave stopping space.
  • Keep your vehicle in the best possible driving condition. The lights, tires, brakes, windshield wipers, defroster, and radiator are especially important for winter driving.
  • Keep your windows clear. Don’t start driving until the windows are defrosted and clean - even if you’re only going a short distance.
  • Watch for danger or slippery spots ahead. Ice may remain on bridges even though the rest of the road is clear. Snow and ice also stick longer in shaded areas.

Correctly operating windshield wipers and defrosters are essential to safety whiledriving in snow and ice conditions. Properly maintained windshield wipers are amust; there are also special blades available that are better equipped to assistin the removal of snow from the windshield. Defroster effectiveness is essentialin the initial clearing of snow and ice from the windshield – and in some instancesthe rear window when a vehicle is so equipped – and should be checked well in advanceof need. In certain cases, a change of the vehicle thermostat will restore appropriateheat to the defroster system.


SafeMotorist.com Driving Safety Articles: This article was written by SafeMotorist.com defensive driving staff writers and reviewed for accuracy by defensive driving instructors. All articles are based on current traffic laws and defensive driving practices. This article is intended for educational purposes only, and should not be taken as legal advice or literal interpretation of any specific traffic law.

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