Road safety week: Distractions can be fatal

Mon 18 Nov, 2013

Firefighters and community safety staff are urging people to commit to being safe drivers to mark Road Safety Week, which starts today.

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service works closely with road safety teams and the other emergency services to try to reduce the death and injury toll on local roads.

The work includes collaborating on the annual Safe Drive Stay Alive road safety presentations to thousands of sixth-formers and college students in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes. These took place last week in High Wycombe and Milton Keynes.

The organisation also demonstrates the technique used to free people who are trapped in vehicles after crashes - called an extrication - at public events such as open days.

Keith Wheeler, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s road safety manager, said: "Firefighters witness first-hand the terrible aftermath of road crashes. They are frequently called out to free a driver or passenger trapped in a vehicle after a collision, often because the driver was distracted, or the vehicle was being driven at an inappropriate speed.

“Sadly, for some of them, there is nothing the emergency services can do to save them from life-changing injuries or worse.

"Distractions can be fatal - never put yourself and others in danger for the sake of a phone call, text or other activity that can wait."

Firefighters from Gerrards Cross Fire Station will be teaming up with the AA on Thursday afternoon (21 November) to stage a road safety display at Tesco in Gerrards Cross. They will also be holding a road safety workshop at Gerrards Cross Fire Station on Saturday afternoon (23 November).

Firefighters from Broughton and Great Holm will be at Midsummer Place in Central Milton Keynes from 11am to 4pm on Thursday (21 November) providing road safety advice and information.

Road Safety Week is organised by the charity Brake, which asks drivers and other road-users to remember the following:

  • Turn off your phone, and never attempt to multi-task at the wheel. If you have to make a call, find a safe place to pull over and switch your engine off.
  • Drive at a speed appropriate for the conditions. Remember in wet or icy conditions, it will take longer to stop.
  • Don't drive while impaired through drink or drugs. Remember, you could still be over the limit the morning after a drinking session.
  • You are twice as likely to die in a crash if you don't wear a seatbelt. By law, you must wear a seatbelt in cars and goods vehicles where one is fitted. There are very few exceptions to this.
  • However well you know the road, you can never know what’s around the corner, or when a child may run out in front of you.
  • Be particularly careful around school gates at the start or end of the school day. What feels slow inside your vehicle could be fatal if a child makes a mistake and steps in front of your vehicle.
  • Stay focused if you're a pedestrian or cyclist. Follow the good old Green Cross Code to get across roads safely.

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