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Seven Deadly (Driving) Sins

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' at netrider.net.au started by Bravus, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. Our discussions here about road safety prompted the following, which I've copied here from my blog. If there was a serious program of education about these, we might see a significant decrease in the road toll.

    (I include riders along with drivers in these, at least for the ones that apply)

    1. Talking on the phone
    - some people (usually those who do it) get defensive on this one, but I have both real evidence from this study (and others by the same team) and anecdotal evidence from my time on the road: someone commits one of the other sins below, and you’ll almost invariably find it’s ‘cos they’re on the phone.

    2. Failing to indicate - we’re not mind-riders. And sometimes we (on bikes, I mean) move fast enough that you don’t know we’re there. So indicate your intentions every time - and early enough. The law here says 30 m or 100 feet before the corner. The people who lock up the brakes and stop completely, and then indicate have it dangerously in the wrong order… but they’re still better than those who don’t indicate at all. Taxi drivers must get too tired from driving all day, I guess…

    3. Failing to head-check before merging
    - Mirrors have a blind spot (heh, I originally typed ‘blond spot’ ;) ), and the only way to merge or change lanes safely is to look over your shoulder in addition to looking in the mirror. Even if you just figured out you’re about to miss your exit. Always shoulder check before moving out of your lane.

    4. Distractions - the phone is the worst offender, but it can be anything - a hot cup of coffee in your hand, a burger dripping in your lap, a pet wandering around the car or sitting in your lap, rubbish rolling under the pedals on the floor, turning around to discipline the kids, fiddling with the radio… If your attention isn’t on the road in front of you while you’re piloting a tonne of steel at high speed, you’re putting your own and others’ lives at risk[1].

    5. Failing to drive for the conditions
    - I stayed off the bike for two days this week, because they were rainy: the first seriously rainy days for a couple of months. I knew the roads would be covered with oil and muck that would make them slippery and dangerous, and I knew people wouldn’t drive appropriately for the conditions. Sure enough, there were two fatalities on Brisbane roads in the rain, one of them a 24 year old mother who died in front of her 4 year old child and her mother. If traction and visibility are reduced, it only makes sense to drive more slowly and more carefully… and failing to do so is negligent and will stand a good chance of getting someone killed.

    6. Tailgating - two seconds is a good guideline. Just watch the vehicle in front pass a stationary object and count 1 - one thousand - 2 - one thousand. If you’re closer than that and something unexpected happens, you’re going to hit them, because there’s not time to react and brake. Sitting on someone’s tail in a place where you can’t overtake anyway doesn’t get you there any quicker, it just irritates them and makes them more likely to crash - and you likely to hit them after they crash.

    7. Running/jumping lights/pulling out without looking and allowing time - If you run a red light, you have a huge chance of killing or injuring someone. People do try to check a bit before taking off on a green light, but if you come really late and fast they may already have started. And if you jump before the green (say on seeing the red in the other direction) you’re also much more likely to be in an accident. Same for pulling out of a side road without adequate checking - even if you come out of that street all the time. And you shouldn’t assume everyone is doing the speed limit, either - the person coming toward you may be going faster - and sure they shouldn’t, but that’s no consolation when they hit you. Stop long enough to make a good judgement about their speed… and it’s courtesy to drive so that you don’t make others have to brake and swerve to miss you.

    These are in addition to the ones everyone knows about like speeding (which gets a lot of attention because it’s easy to police, but probably is more of an exacerbating feature in accidents caused by the above than an actual cause of accidents), fatigue and drink/drug driving, of course.

    And one more deadly sin: driving as though everyone else is a saint (in terms of these sins). Defensive driving means driving like a saint yourself but assuming that everyone else drives like a sinner. If we could all work towards being cleansed of these sins, we’d all live longer.

    [1] I know: my wife’s mother was crossing the road at age 60 with two older women and some guy fiddling with the radio in his car hit and killed all three of them. One reason my daughters don’t have a grandmother.
  2. Great read Bravus. Considered putting it up for placement in the Articles section of NR?
  3. You couldnt have pin pointed the devils doings any better, one more though....P platers, i know its the minority that spoils it fot the majority but hey i see what i see (and i dodge who i dodge), but that has esculated from a one year sin into a lengthy three year sin, where the P plater must earn their forgiveness over the course of this three years....may God have mercy on their souls :LOL:
  4. Good list - definately agree with the failing to drive to conditions problem. Not that uncommon to get snow/hail/ice covering the road here at least a couple of times a year and it's frightening to see the number of drivers losing complete control of their vehicle because their mindlessly trying to stick to the speed limit (not helped by the fact many don't have roadworthy tyres). With the tailgating one I'd also like to add drivers who sit in the right hand lane (or only lane) and hold up traffic behind them. Sure it's not mandatory to sit on the speed limit but it's when drivers are held up needlessly by slow moving traffic that they're more likely to become frustrated/angry and make a risky passing move or speed to make up for lost time. I think in some parts of the world if there's no traffic in front of you - and more than xx cars backed up behind - the cops will actually book them for impeding traffic. I reckon we need a law like that here (would stop those that deliberately try and slow down traffic).
  5. All I can say to this is "Well Done" if everyone adhered to these principles there would be a lot less accidents in the world.

    Have you thought of putting it in the localpaper for all the general public to see...
  6. Sounds like a how-to guide in driving in Sydney. :LOL: good read.
  7. Bravus, good one. All of your points come down to the drivers lack of attention to what they are doing.
  8. Thanks all for the positive comments. Yeah, there are definitely some I missed, like failing to keep left unless overtaking/driving slow in the right lane. I think this is probably the top 7, but more that you can suggest are very welcome.
  9. Speed limits are optional of course :LOL:
  10. Surely then the seven deadly sins for a motorcyclist are-

    1-Not expectinging a motorist to do airey fairy things because they are on the phone, and then not abusing said driver for doing so.

    2-Not expecting a motorist to turn without indicating, and then not abusing said driver for doing so.

    3-Not expecting a motorist to change lanes without warning or due care for your life, and then not abusing said driver for doing so.

    4-Not expecting a motorist to be distracted by something as minor as an ad on the radio, and then not abusing said driver for doing so.

    5-Expecting a driver to know how to drive to the conditions, coz "if the speed limit is 100kmh then I can handle the car at that", and then not abusing said driver for doing so.

    6-Not expecting a driver to get in that nice gap you have left for safety reasons between you and the cars around you, and then not abusing said driver for doing so.

    7-Not expecting drivers to run lights, or pull out from the kerb or side streets, and then not abusing said driver for doing so.

  11. What do you expect? They're trained to do it. :p
  12. You missed not paying attention to indication from others or considering that a challenge to cut them off.
  13. Yawn. Nothing wrong with talking on teh phone whilst driving IF you do it at the right time, and hands free.
    Why is it people who can't multi task very well think they have the right to assume everyone else is equally as bad as them?
    If you dislike people talking whilst driving, you'd better not get into a light aircraft..........or ride near those people who are riding with Ipods in their ears, how distracting is that?
    Typical I can do wrong things, but no one else can/pick on the visible offenders attitude.
    I talk on teh phone whilst driving, never cut anyone off, never run up the back of anyone, indicate, have a full 12 points on my licence, and have been doing it for 10+ years.
    Next myth please.........

    Regards, Andrew.
  14. As I said in the original post, there's both my own experience and solid, well constructed empirical research to support that fact that phoning and driving impairs driving: one study says just as badly as drinking.

    Sure, you're a super driver: studies detect the average. My point is that not everyone is a super driver - in fact the vast majority of drivers are not - and that if driving while on the phone was banned and enforced (worst case) or volutarily completely stopped (best case) *lives would be saved*.
  15. I wonder if there've been any studies of the effects on driving of conversing with other passengers?

    I doubt holding a conversation on a mobile hands-free would be significantly more dangerous. (Not including dialling or texting, of course.)
  16. I understand your point, but if we use this forum as a guide, I'm fairly confident that it would show that more than half the motorcycle accidents reported here were single vehicle incidents. Most of these caused by things like over cooking corners, overreacting to circumstances, or combinations of things like poor road surfaces/markings or rider over confidence and lack of experience.

    We can't blame everything on somebody else, I still adhere to the fact that motorcyclists are their own worst enemy.

    p.s. I also drive a 4WD .. a bloody big one ..
  17. Agree there. I've seen many people engrossed in conversation with their passengers and oblivious to their surroundings.
    It's just that it's sooo easy to spot someone on a mobile and blame poor driver education, rudeness, arrogance, stupidity and lack of commonsense on a few circuit boards, in much the same way cagers think lane splitting is dangerous..........it's obvious and not the norm, so it must be dangerous.

    Regards, Andrew.
  18. Agreed, nobby: and I don't think anyone is claiming all accidents are caused by drivers. I also wasn't talking only about bike accidents, but about driving generally. We all know the causes of single-vehicle bike accidents: and hopefully are working hard at minimising those. But those are the things that are either in our control personally (riding speed, skills, equipment, maintenance) or outside the control of any individual (road condition, road maintenance, fallen limbs, gravel or oil on corners and so on). All important and part of the solution... but that particular post was about things that are in the control of individual drivers.

    And typhoon, yeah, o be fair, the fact that I notice, after seeing someone drive badly, that they're on a mobile, means that I may well miss those who are on mobiles but driving well: my own anecdotal evidence is definitely biased. The research studies on the issue are designed so as to eliminate that bias though.
  19. Typhoon, it seems that research disagrees with you.
    A search with google produces more than a few research articles that conclude that just using a mobile, even hands free, that it is safer to be drink driving.


    Hands-free mobile no safer when driving
    Agençe France-Presse

    Tuesday, 12 July 2005

    Mobile phone

    Driven to distraction: using a hands-free kit is just as dangerous

    Holding a mobile phone while driving more than quadruples the risk of an accident, and using a hands-free phone kit is almost as dangerous, according to an Australian study.

    Researchers interviewed more than 450 drivers in Western Australia who owned or used mobile phones and who had been involved in car crashes serious enough to warrant hospital treatment.

    Most of the drivers also gave their permission to get records of the phone use from their mobile phone company to get precise timings of calls and see how these compared to the estimated time of the crash.

    Drivers who had used a mobile phone, either holding it to their ear or using a hands-free system, were 4.1 times more likely to have an accident in the next 10 minutes than if they had not made a call.

    And http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s303714.htm

  20. Completely different things. Pilots are only listening to information relevant to their flying - and don't have a lot of things they can run into the back of. Music is generally a passive thing that can be easily ignored (although cops were recently booking drivers with ipods for careless driving since earphones block out outside noise far more effectively than a car stereo). A phone conversation however requires thought and attention - believing that you can drive just as well whilst talking on the phone at the same time is no different than those who believe they can drive perfectly well drunk. Talking to a passenger has been proven to be vastly different since they are at least aware of what's going on outside the vehicle - and (usually) know when to shut up.