Young driversThe risk of being involved in a fatal or serious crash is much higher for young drivers whenthere are passengers, especially when they are of the same age and when there is morethan one. This is because friends in the car can- Distract the driver when they have not fully mastered heir driving skills- Encourage riskier driving behaviours, such as driving after drinking alcohol, speeding, swerving and following to close.- Tempt the driver to show off.Having a passenger can simply make the driver less attentive and less able to respond tohazards while driving. If you are a passenger in a car that is being driven by your friend,allow them to concentrate on the driving and try to help by spotting hazards in and aroundthe road.
Seat beltsThe wearing of seat belts was made compulsory in all states of Australia inJanuary 1972. Since that time there has been a dramatic decline in thenumber of deaths and serious injuries in car accidents. It has been provedthat the chances of being injured or killed are 60 per cent less if the personis wearing a seat belt. There are many myths about wearing of seat belts,but in an accident it is much safer to be in the car than to be thrown out of it.Cars are designed to crumple on the outside first and to absorb most of theimpact, leaving the inside compartment relatively intact. If you are thrown through the windscreen or windowsagainst a very hard surface you are more likely to be killed. Also if you are secured by a seat belt and the car is immersed in water or catches fire, you are more likely to be conscious and therefore ableto escape than if you are unconscious because you have struck your head on some part of the car. Seat belts need to be warn by all occupants whether they are in the front or rear of the car, especially young children or babies. A rear seat passenger who is not wearing a seat belt, could become a missile and kill the front occupants as well as themselves. 6 % of front seat fatalities are caused by unrestrained rear seat passengers. Seat belts can cause minor injuries such as abrasions, muscle strains, bruises and whiplash but these do not compare with the more serious complaints of fractures, head injuries, paralysis and death. Sharing a seat belt is ineffective as well as against the law. This applies particularly to people nursing babies and young children, who can be crushed to the death by the force of an adults body in a crash.
PedestriansChildren observe the environmentdifferently, not only are they seeingeverything from a lower viewpoint,they also have not yet developednecessary abilities such as judgingspeed and distance, making lifesavingdecisions and understanding danger,which is a necessity for their road safety.In 2006, 227 pedestrians were killed on the roads, young people accounted for 55%(24%) of these deaths.Child pedestrian deaths and injuries increase with age, particularly when schoolingcommences – the time at which children begin to travel independently. Most childpedestrian deaths result from an error made by the child.In 2006 335 passengers were killed on the roads – young people accounted for 183 (55%)of these deaths. Passenger deaths and injuries tend to be especially high among 16-19year olds because they often spend a lot of time travelling as passengers – rather thandriving, walking or bicycling – and they often travel in vehicles driven by young drivers.
Children safetyChildren tend to focus on one task at a time and ignore other things that are happening around them. E.g. theyfollow a ball onto the road because they want the ball now, not thinking to look for traffic. They are full of energytherefore their speed can put them in dangerous places in seconds. They don’t notice road safety warnings as theyhave little understanding of it. They can’t judge speed and distance of cars properly, they cant judge safe gaps andthis can make crossing the roads very dangerous for them. Children don’t notice things out of the corner of their eyetherefore they wont notice an approaching car. Children are small and cant see over parked cars. Children are easilydistracted. Children may become confused and panic when there is a sudden change in traffic conditions.When out walking with children, hold their hand or holdthem close. This is the most effective way of keepingchildren safe from traffic injury. If you hold ontochildren, you can stop them running into a situation thatmight be dangerous. But sometimes a child doesn’twant to be held. What do you do?Don’t worry – all children complain about holding handsat one time or another. Sometimes they don’tunderstand how this will keep them safe or they mayjust want to do it their way. By making family rulesabout safe walking, explaining them and then sticking tothem, you are helping your child learn how to become asafer pedestrian.Use these road safety messages:•“Whenever we are out walking, we hold hands.”•“If we can’t hold hands, you can keep close by holding onto me, the bag or the stroller.”•“There’s no running ahead.”
When holding your child’s hand, use the opportunity to talk with the child about:•Where it is safe to walk and cross the road.•When it is safe to walk and cross the road.•The need to stop and wait at the side of the road before crossing.•What to look for.•What to listen for.•Why they have to keep checking until they are safely across the road or the driveway.Pedestrians still account for a High percentage of all road fatalities with males accounting for most fatalities andserious injuries. People aged 60years accounted for 16% of serious injury while representing only 16% of thepopulation.Prevention strategies- Always cross at a pedestrian crossing if one is available- Be aware of your surroundings, whenever you cross, even at lights- Always stop, look and listen and keep looking as you cross- Always hold the hand of a child under the age of 5 years when crossing a road- Never cross a road on a bend or curve- Ensure that you have a clear view in all directions- Be alert, never assume that a driver has seen you or intends to stop- Wear bright coloured clothing, especially at nightSafe PlayChildren can dart into traffic very quickly when distracted by games they are playing. Where possible children shouldplay in a fenced yard or park and be supervised by an adult at all times. Driveways are unsafe areas for children to play.Use these road safety messages:•“Always play in the backyard”•“Dont play in the driveway”•“Never follow your ball onto the road”Make some family rules about safe play, talk about them with the children and then stick to them - every time they areusing bikes, trikes or scooters.
Safe CyclingBicycle riders should always:- Wear an Australian Standards approved helmet- Pass other vehicles on the left, except when those vehicles areindicating and turning left- Stopping at red lights or Stop signs- Give way as indicated by signage- Use hand signals when changing direction to the right- Give way to pedestrians using crossings- Keep to the left and give way to pedestrians when using a shared pathBicycle riders should not:- Ride on footpaths, unless the bike rider is under 12 years of age or they are an accompanying a rider under 12 years ofage- Drink alcohol and rideEven if you are an experienced rider, you are exposed and vulnerable in the road environment and are at risk of seriousinjury or death if involved in a crash. Riding defensively and scanning the road can improve your safety. Learning howto share the road safely could save you your life.LegislationUnder NSW law, children less than 12 years of age and an accompanying adult if supervising a child, are allowed tolegally ride on the footpath. This law was introduced because, whilst young children quickly develop skills required toride, steer and stop a bicycle, their development limitations preclude the child’s capacity to ride on a road shared withmoving vehicles. The child rider’s limitations may result in unpredictable and unsafe behaviour, though the child mayhave mastered a range of physical riding skills.Under NSW law, a bicycle is considered a vehicle and subject to the same road rules as other vehicles. Find out moreabout the Road Rules.
Tips for riding your bicycle safely• Always wear an approved bicycle helmet, properly fitted and fastened to your head. For further information onbicycle helmets, click here.• Always obey the road rules, including traffic lights, stop signs and give way signs.• Ride in a predictable manner that does not require other road users to react suddenly to your movements.• Give hand signals when changing lanes or turning left or right.• Make yourself as visible as possible by wearing bright, light or reflective clothing.• Plan your route using quieter streets, bicycle paths or shared paths, wherever possible.• Maintain control of your bike at all times. It is an offence to ride with both hands off the handlebars, feet off thepedals or to carry anything which prevents you from having control.39 bicyclists were killed on the roads in 2006 – 11 (28%) of these deaths were young people and all of them weremales. Bicycles are legitimate vehicles and cyclists have rights and responsibilities like any other road user. Check thebike is first road worthy they should have:- An effective hand or foot operated rear wheel brake- A red light reflector on the rear- Between sunset and sunrise they should have a white front light and rear red light showing which is unbroken orflashing- Also yellow reflectors fitted to each pedal for night or poor weather riding- Handle bars are not loose and are aligned with the front wheel axle- Make sure a warning device is attached (e.g. horn or bell) Safety Considerations - Helmet - Bright, reflective clothing is recommended - Know the appropriate hand signals and make them clear - Follow the rules of the roundabout like a car - Use a hook turn when going right at an intersection - Keep left - Don’t slip stream or pace behind a moving vehicle - Don’t hold onto a moving vehicle (its against the law)
Bicycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as driversand motorcycle riders. When driving, be on the look out for bicycleriders as they are smaller than cars and harder to see.Tips when driving near bicycle riders• Bicycle riders are more difficult to see than cars or trucks, especially at night. Take care to check for bicycle riders in blind spots.• When overtaking give bicycle riders a safe amount of space. This means at least one metre to the side in a 50 km/h zone, if the speed limit is higher, then bicycle riders need more space for their safety.• Always check for bicycle riders whenever you travel on the road particularly when turning at intersections.• Sometimes a bicycle can travel as fast or faster than a car, particularly in slow-moving traffic. Never underestimate their speed and be sure not to cut them off by moving in front of them. Remember that it takes longer for a bicycle to stop than a car at the same speed.• Check in your rear view and side mirrors to avoid opening your car door into the path of bicycle riders. This can be dangerous and legally your fault. • At times bicycle riders may need a full width lane to ride safely due to rough road edges and gravel. Be Prepared to slow down and allow the rider to travel away from the kerb. Children on bikes can be unpredictable – be prepared to slow down and stop. • Bicycle riders are allowed to ride two abreast, (side by side).
MotorcyclistsMost drivers simply don’t see them becausethey aren’t looking for motorcycles. They arealso harder to see than other vehicles. Theyare small, can blend in easily with thesurroundings and can accelerate much faster than vehicles therefore its hard to judge theirapproaching speed.In 2006, 238 motorcyclists (both riders and pillions) were killed on the roads, youngpeople accounted for 74 (31%) of these deaths. Nearly all the young motorcyclists killedwere males (96%).On a distance of travelled basis, the death rate of motorcyclists is very high – between1998 and 202 the death rate per kilometre travelled was between 18 and 25 times that ofa motor vehicle occupant. This is because of two key reasons:1) as a group, they are more likely to take risks. This is especially so for youngriders; and2) They do not have the physical protection that motor vehicle occupants have.
Reference:Lees, R., & Lees, A. (2006) Personal development, health and physical education(3rd ed.). 82 waterloo Road, North Ryde NSW 2113: Mcgraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd.Healey, J. (2004) Road Safety (Vol 204) PO Box 438 Thirroul NSW 2515 Australia:The Spinney Press.Healey, J. (2009) Safe Driving (Vol 298). PO Box 438 Thirroul NSW 2515 Australia:The Spinney Press.NSW centre for Road Safety, accessed 08-10-2012 retrieved from:http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/roadsafety/index.htmlNSW centre for Road Safety – Bicycles, Accessed 08-10-2012 retrieved from:http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/roadsafety/bicycles/index.html
Questions1) List Ways of reducing the risk of injuries and mortality while:- Walking as a Pedestrian- Catching a train or bus; and- Riding your Bike2) As a passenger, what can you do to help a young driver be safe?3) You see a Child playing with a ball near a busy road, how can you make this safer for the child and why?4) What is the differences between males and females when taking risks?5) NEXT WEEK - Class Debate – Is our personal freedom is invaded when we are made to wear seat belts.