Despite all the safety devices fitted into modern cars, despite safety roads design and safety cameras along the roads, accidents and fatalities do occur. Studies show that human factor is involved in about 90% of all road accidents. It looks like it is not so much due to bad weather or road conditions that accidents occur. It's mostly us, drivers, who cause accidents due to lack of attention, too high speeds, poor application of traffic rules, etc. Sweden is doing its best to promote safety on the roads. In Sweden safety is prioritised over convenience or speed. In fact, in recent years Swedish roads have become the world's safest, on average only three of every 100 000 Swedes are dying on the roads yearly. For comparison, across EU the number of deaths is 5,5 per 100 000, while in the US it is over 11. Still this means that on average about 260 people are dying in Sweden in traffic accidents every year.
Safety tips for young drivers
Here are some safety tips every driver must know:
- Secure vehicle's load properly
- Remind your passengers to fasten their seatbelts before moving off
- Never compete with other road users
- Never drive if you feel sick or tired
- Don't go on a long journey if you did not have a good sleep the night before
- Never drive if you have consumed alcohol or taken drugs
- Don’t let your passengers to distract you or provoke you to take risks or increase your speed
- Do not use phone while driving! At all! Even hands-free devices will distract your attention. If you need to answer a call, stop in a safe place.
- Keep your speed down. Serious accidents often happen due to loss of control over the vehicle because the speed was too high.
- If you notice first signs of fatigue, stop in a safe place and have a rest.
- Always plan your trip in advance, allow plenty of time for your route and don't drive in a hurry! You will save only a few minutes while the risk is huge.
- Avoid overtaking. Never overtake if not confident and never take risks!
- Avoid driving at night. This is the time when natural level of alertness is at its minimum and many serious collisions happen.
Watch your speed!
One reason why Sweden to date managed to reach the position of the safest traffic environment in the world is due to decreasing the speed limit in some areas in the cities to as low as 30 km/h. Did you know that if a person gets hit by a car which travels at 50 km/h, the risk of fatality is over 80 %? At the same time, if this happens at the speed of 30 km/h the risk of pedestrian's death is less than 10 %. It goes without saying that keeping speeds adapted to the traffic and weather situation is crucial for a safe journey. Always plan your trip so that you have plenty of time. Avoid driving in a hurry. Speeding only saves you a few minutes, while the risk is great.
Fasten your seatbelt
As a driver, you are responsible for the safety of your passengers. Always fasten your seatbelt and check that all your passengers have fastened theirs! When you fasten your seatbelt, you should keep it as close to your body as possible. There should not be any thick layer of clothes or other objects between you and your seatbelt.
For pregnant women it is especially important to wear a seatbelt. If you are at the late stages of pregnancy you should not drive yourself, because the airbag which is located in the steering wheel may hurt the baby in case of accident.
Child car seat
If you are carrying children in your vehicle you must comply with child safety rules. Backward facing baby seat is the best way to protect small children under the age of 4. The seat where the baby seat is located must not be protected with an airbag as it may injure the baby if it inflates. Disconnect the airbag with the help of professionals. For babies of 9 months and over you may use a forward facing baby seat. Overall, the safety features of the backward facing baby seat are higher, so it is recommended to use it until the child turns 4. A general rule is that children under 10 years should be using special children car seats. This may vary depending on the size and height of the child. Children under 140 cm of height should not travel on the front seat if the airbag is enabled.
The airbag fills in very quickly (only 0.15 sec) and may cause injuries also to adults if they are located too close to it. Therefore, when adjusting your seat (as a passenger) it is good to pull your seat all the way back.
Also remember to properly adjust your head restraint. In case of an accident it will help prevent neck injury.
Secure your load
Unsecure load can cause injuries in case of accident. Heavy items tend to fly to the front of the vehicle and may cause severe injuries to the driver and the passengers. When you load your car, make sure you place heavy objects as far down as possible. Always secure the load located in your trunk, with the straps.