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Graham Hurdle blog: 13th October: what can drivers learn from Dublin's air crash?

Date: 13 October 2014

Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World

The headline in the Daily Mail on October 8th read, 'Passengers watch in horror as two Ryanair planes collide on Dublin Airport runway - leaving one with the top of its wing ripped off'

Two Ryanair planes hit each other whilst taxiing at Dublin airport. No-one was injured and only minor damage to the wing tips of the planes was done.

So why does this make the headlines when far worse accidents on our roads don't even get a mention?

The problem is that road accidents happen all too often, whereas any aviation incident is more rare. With air crashes the number of people's lives at risk is also often far greater and the emotions they provoke in people's minds more extreme. 

 So, going back to the Ryanair crash, which pilot was at fault? This occurred at night and, as with all incidents of this nature, there will be an investigation to unravel what happened. However, without wishing to judge either pilot or anyone else involved in directing the 2 planes, it may be as a result of more than one person's error.

 The lessons that road drivers can learn from this Dublin airport crash are:

-  It takes two to tango and in most cases it takes two to crash.  Just because you can see all the vehicles around you, not all those drivers will be concentrating. This means they might not see you.

-  Directions given by others may not be safe. For example, if you are waiting to emerge from a side road, when another driver beckons you out can you be sure he/she has checked for bikes/motorbikes or anything else coming up on their near or off side. Do you go and trust their instruction or wait and trust your own judgment as to when it's safe?

-   When it is dark, vehicles (and planes!) are harder to see, so switch on your lights and pay more attention. Sometimes lights can be deceiving. Make sure you know what is around you. For example, if you see a single light ahead of you, is that a cyclist going slowly? A pedestrian with a torch? A motorbike moving quickly?   A car with one broken headlight?   Take time to check so that you have accurate information to make a decision.                                           

And finally, it highlights that even professional drivers/pilots can get it wrong. However, the more training you provide, the less chances of an accident.

So, if your company vehicle drivers have never been trained, imagine how many potential mistakes they are making each day? For some of them its probably pure chance that they aren't having more accidents.

And remember, it only cost a few pounds if you use online driver training systems to provide on-going training. Far cheaper than dealing with an accident after it has happened.