Road users underestimate the risks of summer driving[Erkki Sipp | 12.06]
City streets are drained of cars during the summer months; however, holidaymakers spend more time than usual on highways, which means that it pays to be especially careful in high-speed traffic.
Although one might believe that young drivers who have gotten behind the wheel for the summer are the cause of most accidents, Seesam’s statistics for insurance cases covered by motor third party liability contracts for the past year reveal that most accidents are caused by 25-37 year old drivers. Standing out in particular are men, since only one-third of accidents can be attributed to women.
‘The most common types of accidents are running off the road due to a high rate of speed, collisions with other cars and collisions from behind', said Erkki Sipp, Product Manager for Motor Vehicle Insurance at Seesam.
Even so, the insurer urges people to also be watchful of young drivers behind the wheel while travelling on highways during the summer, since they are now heading out to discover different sites and festivals within Estonia. ‘The latter tend to take greater risks, engage in dangerous overtaking of other vehicles and frequently exceed the speed limit. At the other extreme are those drivers who, without reason, drive slowly, collecting other drivers behind them, who then engage in dangerous overtaking', noted Sipp, recommending that drivers who feel unsure behind the wheel leave room for others and drive along the edge of the road, not on the centre line and below the speed limit. In such a case, a longer than normal separation distance should definitely be maintained with other cars.
An inexperienced driver should also not forget to display the maple leaf, since the latter is not meant to be a mark of shame, but instead to serve as a notice to other road users that there is a driver with little experience on the road, thereby also helping to ensure greater traffic safety.
According to the insurer, seasoned drivers – who should be setting an example and not becoming unnecessarily frustrated – still have a lot left to do in order to improve traffic culture. ‘Unfortunately, there have been instances where experienced drivers want to show young drivers their place in traffic or teach them a lesson, creating dangerous traffic situations through unnecessary signalling and risky overtaking. It should be remembered that regardless of the raising of speed limits on highways for the summer, the rule of a new driver being restricted to a maximum speed of 90km/h is applicable, and fellow road users must take that into consideration', said the representative of Seesam.
From late spring until autumn drivers must also definitely take into consideration moped drivers and motorcyclists, since the driver of a two-wheeled vehicle lacks the protection of a metal body and airbags. ‘In the case of motorcyclists it is very important to maintain a separation distance, especially when there is a passenger in the vehicle, who increases breaking distance and slows the process of overtaking other vehicles. Drivers should also make sure before switching lanes or turning that there is nobody in their so-called blind spot.
Moped drivers and motorcyclists must always wear a helmet, follow traffic rules and select a position in the lane which ensures their visibility. It is highly recommended that they wear a neon vest or clothing with reflective details’, said Sipp, providing an introduction to the basics of safe driving.