As emergency care professionals we deal with road accidents on a daily basis and it is nothing uncommon for us to attend to an incident where someone has died or a family was completely wiped out in a horror crash.
Mary Ward is believed to have been the first fatality of a motor vehicle collision in 1869. She fell out of a steam driven motor vehicle and killed. Since Mary’s death, no one ever thought that one in every five people would die in motor vehicle collisions in South Africa alone.
Some people would argue that most fatalities are the result of speeding. In 1869 the speed limit in towns were set to a mere 3.6km/h and 7.2 km/h in rural areas. Still at this low speed a person died. From this we can probably say that speed doesn’t kill, but the sudden stop does.
Motor vehicle collisions are the world’s largest public health and safety risk. According to studies done by the World Health Organization, more than a million people are killed in road accidents each year.
A recent study have shown that predominantly young drivers between the ages of 25 and 29 has the highest incidence of being involved in a motor vehicle collision; and over ninety percent of them are male.
Pedestrians are not excluded from this study. Approximately 20 percent of all pedestrian accidents are children under the age of 15 years.
It is important to understand that you might be a good driver, but is the person driving next to you just as good. Drivers should keep in mind that they need to think before acting and also think for the person driving in front, next or behind you. You need to try and predict his or her actions and allow yourself enough time and space to react to a possible incident.
The most important factor that could save your life on the road is your reaction time and not only the speed you’re driving at, but also the way you are driving.
Many motorists think that when they are traveling behind another vehicle they can react quick enough to brake and still keep the distance between his or her vehicle and the car in front of them. There are a few factors that come into effect that most often render this impossible.
Your total stopping distance of the vehicle you are traveling in depends on a few factors: Your reaction time, your vehicles reaction time and your vehicle’s braking capability.
For instance, if you travel on a dry road that is in a good condition and traveling at 60km/h per hour your total stopping distance would be approximately 32.4 meters; and traveling at 120km/h per hour your total stopping distance would be approximately 107.5 meters.
In October 2009 ER24 attended to over 2755 motor vehicle accidents and this is substantially higher than a year ago when only 1897 motor vehicle collisions were reported to ER24; and this is only accidents reported to ER24, it excludes the accidents reported to other private services or state services.