Graham Hurdle blog: 8th September: The battle of the motoring groups!
08 September 2014
Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World
Road safety should be the common and united responsibility of anyone that uses the roads.
Yet in reality different road users are put into groups, leading to divisions of opinion about who is the safest! We have car drivers, HGV drivers, van drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists, and even pedestrians - all blaming each other for being the most hazardous on the road.
A recent television documentary highlighted this by getting taxi drivers and van drivers to become cyclists for a day, and put cyclists behind the wheel of a vehicle.
The concept was to put them in each other's shoes and, although I felt it was a piece of sensationalist TV showing cyclists and drivers screaming and swearing at each other, the general consensus afterwards was that they could understand the other person's point of view.
I could give you so many other examples of 'finger pointing.' Car drivers blaming lorry drivers for hogging both lanes up hills on dual carriageways. Lorry drivers blaming cars for cutting in front of them and braking hard at junctions. Motorists blaming bikers for weaving between lanes on motorways, and bikers blaming drivers for not allowing them enough space. I even saw a programme about a mother confronting an elderly mobility scooter driver who had hit her child on the pavement. Neither party accepting fault.
What all of these examples have in common is "Attitude".
No matter what we are driving or riding, or even if we are walking, we all have a responsibility to keep ourselves safe and ensure the safety of others.
Everyone who has passed the driving test has demonstrated their ability to control the vehicle, so what's the problem? Why does people's attitude get in the way of safety?
The problem is that 'attitude' isn't really tested. And certainly no-one starts shouting or using offensive sign language on their driving test. Poor attitude generally develops over time and affects our long-term behaviour on the road.
If you go on an on-road defensive driver training course, an ADI will look very carefully at a driver's attitude and how that impacts on their behaviour. It is also something that we focus on in our online driver profiling system with a whole section dedicated to driver attitude.
So next time you review your vehicle fleet's accident stats, why not write a comment next to each incident and ask yourself whether it was caused by driver attitude. It may help you focus on changing drivers' minds as well as their abilities.