It’s been declared an unofficial epidemic, and is the focus of the high-profile documentary, A Piece of the Rock, and its associated community outreach programme, sponsored by Argus in addition to the related six-month campaign by The Royal Gazette entitled Drive for Change.
With approximately 48,500 vehicles licensed with TCD, there is a lot of competition for space when driving on our narrow roads. If you consider distracted driving, impatience, inadequate training and impaired driving, it does not take long for traffic mishaps to occur. As many as 800 collisions a month, in fact!
But Bermuda’s roads don’t have to be this dangerous. And it is up to all drivers to make a change.
Drive for Change and the Bermuda Road Safety Council are advocating for non-selective roadside sobriety testing, speed cameras and the introduction of a graduated licensing program. These moves will help to make Bermuda’s roads safer, but there are simple measures that individual drivers can take to stay safe while driving.
Studies show that speeding does not get you to your destination much faster, particularly on Bermuda’s roads where drive times are short and the lanes are tight. Stick to the speed limit and be patient. If it means leaving a bit earlier, adjust your schedule to allow enough time to get to your destination without feeling the need to rush.
Stay In Your Lane
Bermuda’s roads have two official lanes of traffic, but many drivers use an imaginary “third” lane down the middle of the road. This bad habit can result in collisions to both oncoming traffic and those in the lane in which you should be driving. These crashes can be avoided if drivers stay in their designated lane.
Dangerous overtaking is a major factor in road accidents in Bermuda. With cars and bikes overtaking long lines of traffic in addition to overtaking at inappropriate places and junctions, the chance for a collision increases significantly. Stay in your lane and arrive safely.
Impaired driving is a serious issue on our roads: three quarters of road deaths in Bermuda involve alcohol or drugs. It is not only illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, but it also makes you a serious danger to both yourself and everyone around you. The following digital map provided by ‘A Piece of the Rock’, provides a list of locations of all road fatalities over the past 10 years, and is designed to commemorate the lives of those lost and create broad awareness of this issue, to ensure that more people are not added to the list. In addition, the maps also provide the number of fatalities per constituency along with the contact details for the respective MP, so residents can directly contact their MPs and demand action.
Make it a priority to never be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving.
Distracted driving is an increasing hazard especially while texting or using mobile phones. Put your phone away while you are driving. Take away the temptation and concentrate on the road.
When you are driving a vehicle, pay full attention to what you are doing. Driving without due care because of lack of attention is a major cause of accidents.
Have Adequate Insurance
Senior Magistrate Juan Wolffe cites driving a vehicle without the proper insurance as one of the most serious offences on Bermuda’s roads. He told The Royal Gazette: “If there’s any offence that should lead to someone being taken off the road, it’s that. The consequences of doing that are serious, and I see it all the time.” He explains that without insurance, someone involved in a road accident can face hefty expenses. Car and bike insurance are required by law, and a vehicle should not be driven until it has the necessary coverage.
Argus insurance representatives can help to ensure you have the coverage you need.
The Bermuda Motorcycle Academy B/Moto motorcycle training program provides riders with on-road and in-class training to be safer on the road. While not mandatory, the training has already proven invaluable in developing safe driving habits with its participants.
Aside from other risks of poor driving habits, traffic tickets can result in the possibility of losing your license. Good habits can ensure these things do not happen. Be patient, be courteous and observe the rules of the road. If everyone adopts safe driving habits, our roads will become a much safer place for all of us.