Graham Hurdle's blog: 21 October 2011 - Do drivers really learn from their mistakes?
21 October 2011
Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World
Most drivers that are involved in a crash, or get caught breaking the law, will blame everything and everyone else. How many times have you heard a driver say, "He was coming too fast, there was nothing I could do", or "The only reason I got caught by that mobile speed camera was because the police officer was standing in the shadows".
This headline in the Daily Mail caught my eye this week:
Ellen Whitaker was found at twice over the drink-drive limit
Whitaker, who blamed her error of judgement on not having eaten before the ball, was banned from driving for 18 months, and afterwards apologised.
Whitaker had been attending a charity ball in Cheshire on September 19.
Ms Whitaker was on her way to a friend's house having realised she was over the limit when police stopped her.
After leaving a friend's house to drive home to South Yorkshire she turned back after just a mile, prosecutor Debbie Byrne told Macclesfield magistrates.
A roadside breath test proved positive and she was taken to a police station where her lowest reading was 77 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - more than double the legal limit of 35.
Defending herself, Whitaker, of Silkstone, near Barnsley, pleaded guilty to drink driving.
She told magistrates: 'I didn't realise I was over the limit, but when I started driving I realised I was and was on my way back.'
She was disqualified from driving for 18 months, fined £150 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
In a statement after the case, a spokeswoman for Whitaker said: 'Ellen is very sorry this incident occurred.
'She had been at a charity ball and hadn't had a chance to eat before.
'She had no idea she was over the legal limit when she got into the car.
'Having driven less than a mile, Ellen realised she might be over the legal limit and turned round to return to her friend's house. It was on the way back that the police stopped her.'
Why would anyone who respects the law continue driving after they have realised that they might be over the legal limit? All too often we hear about people saying how sorry they are for drinking and driving, yet they try to defend themselves with excuses such as not having eaten before drinking.
The problem is, it's not just those drivers who are in court that excuse their actions by blaming everyone and everything else. Every day drivers are involved in minor crashes and near misses and never learn from their mistakes because in their minds they also did nothing wrong. Take this common example; you are travelling on a motorway when on the opposite carriageway there is a minor shunt; suddenly the vehicle ahead brakes hard and you fail to stop, colliding with the rear of the car in front. Why did this crash occur?
1. It was the driver ahead fault for over braking
2. The minor crash on the opposite carriageway distracted you and/or the driver ahead
3. You were following the vehicle ahead with too little separation distance.
If you are honest with yourself, you would have selected answer 1 or 2, and if it wasn't your fault you have nothing to learn.
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