August is National Road Victim Month – Remember, Campaign, Support
Sadly, many people die or are seriously injured on our roads every day. National Road Victim Month is held annually, in August to remember those who have been lost and create awareness of road danger. Created by the charity RoadPeace, the campaign advocates better road safety, and more considerate treatment of victims and their families.
Swansway Group wholeheartedly supports all organisations involved in the advancement of road safety.
This month of awareness prompts us to offer year-round support to those who have been hurt in a crash, as well as the friends and relatives of people killed or injured on the roads. In addition, it reminds us of the importance of increasing the safety on our roads and ensuring that victims get the help and justice they need.
It is no coincidence that Road Victim Month is held in August. Accident levels increase at this time of year as more people are out and about. Children are off school, the weather is generally nicer than at other times of the year so we go for days out and drive to holiday destinations. With more cars on the roads, August has higher rates of road tragedies than other months.
Remembering Those We’ve Lost
#NationalRoadVictimMonth is a time to remember loved ones who we’ve lost on the roads. There are so many ways in which you can pay tribute to someone who has lost their life. You could place an online memorial on one of many websites dedicated to such losses, or you could sponsor a tree in the RoadPeace Wood.
Advice is also available on erecting memorials and the correct procedure to follow if you’d like to commemorate a loved one with a lasting memorial such as a bench or tree. For cyclists killed on the road, a Ghostbike serves a double purpose. It’s both a memorial to the person who lost their life, but also a reminder to drivers and cyclists that someone has been killed in that spot, and so they should pay attention while watching their speed and manoeuvres. For more information on erecting a ghost bike memorial, check out the Ghostbike website.
Raising Awareness Can Save Lives
It’s important to all of us to remember those who have lost their lives, and crucial that the circumstances of their deaths are not repeated. We can do this by increasing road safety as much as possible so as to reduce the number of accidents on our roads, and their severity.
National Road Victim Month raises awareness of the dangers of careless driving and cycling, and encourages people to take alternative forms of transport to reduce the amount of traffic on our roads. Of course this also comes with the advantages to our health of cycling or walking for shorter journeys, rather than taking the car.
Awareness in Schools
Bringing the message of road safety to school children is vital. While they’re young, it’s so important that they learn to cross roads safely, but these children are also the drivers of the future. Make them aware of the dangers of the road when they are young, and this knowledge will help to make our roads safer in the future.
It’s so important to teach them how to use the different types of road crossings safely; get them to wear cycling helmets when on a bike; seatbelts when in a car; and bright clothing when out walking. These routines could save their life one day.
Look out for events being held in your local area, such as a ceremony of remembrance which was held at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire on Saturday 12th August.
Working Towards a Safer Future
While every death on our roads is a tragedy too many, the great work of charities such as RoadPeace, helps to raise public awareness, while stricter laws and safer vehicles are contributing to decreasing numbers of road deaths in the long term. It’s a slow descent but we must also take into account that traffic levels are on the rise.
You can see the facts and figures regarding accident rates in this report from the Department of Transport. While this is promising, there is so much more that can be done.
Manufacturers are Playing Their Part
Of course, when it comes to safety on the roads, vehicles themselves play a huge part. Thankfully, car manufacturers are constantly upgrading and improving the safety of their cars.
For example, air bags are now commonplace and save lives every day. Safety innovations such as Electronic Stability Control which slows you down if your car slips on the road, prevents dangerous skidding; and Emergency Collision Alert and Braking systems give you an audible warning if you’re about to crash, applying the brakes for you.
Driving at night can be particularly hazardous, but newly introduced night vision assistance using thermal imaging can help identify pedestrians and cyclists. The structure of the cars has also improved with manufacturers creating cars with tougher safety shells that have been thoroughly crash tested.
Motorway driving can be dangerous too, especially when you are tired and the journey is long. Lane Departure warning systems will let you know if your concentration has lapsed and you’ve drifted out of your lane. Even the smallest bump can cause a serious injury and so the new multi-angle cameras can keep you and other road users safe as well as being very useful for parking in tight spaces.
- While honouring those we have lost as victims of an incident on the roads, we must also do all we can to ensure the future safety of our family and friends. Following these tips will help to keep you safer whilst driving, riding or walking on the UK’s roadways:
- Ensure your car, motorbike or bicycle is roadworthy and well maintained.
- In cars, always wear seatbelts and use appropriate safety seats for children and infants.
- Keep all potential distractions out of sight.
- Make sure you can be seen – walkers and cyclists should wear hi-visibility clothing and affix or carry lights.
- Leave plenty of room between you and other road users.
- Pay attention to road signs and adhere to speed limits.
- Always take into consideration the condition of the road and the environment, e.g. light levels, weather and road debris.
- Pre-plan your journey to reduce risk of getting lost.
- NEVER drive or ride when tired, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.