Dave Conway: What does it take to be a Road Safety Hero?

The 15th of November sees the start of Road Safety Week 2021, the UK’s biggest road safety event, and it seem fitting that I should update this blog to mark the occasion.

This year, the theme of Road Safety Week is Road Safety Heroes.

So what does it take to be a hero? Actually, it can be very small actions or changes to behaviour that make the difference. 

  • Try setting yourself a target of driving 3 mph slower. It doesn’t sound much, does it? On a motorway it will make almost no difference to your travel time, but it will give you a tiny amount of extra time to react to the unexpected. In an urban environment it can be the difference between a pedestrian living or dying. Be a Hero… slow down a teensy bit.

  • Try enjoying driving by relaxing. Don’t see “Red Mist” and get all aggressive because someone cuts in on you. Don’t try your hardest to stop that car cutting into the queue in front of you. You won’t actually “teach him a lesson” by not letting him in. You will just put yourself and hi in a bad frame of mind that clouds your judgement and decision making. Be a Hero… drive calm.

  • Don’t tailgate the driver in front. It will not make them go any faster. It might make them perform a dangerous manoeuvre to get out of your way, or to brake-check you, resulting in a crash. Be a Hero… keep your distance.

  • Don’t let yourself be distracted by the technology in the car. Try something… just for Road Safety Week… turn your phone off and put it in the glove compartment when driving. After the week is over, work out just how badly you life was ruined by doing this. If you conclude it made no difference, then stay in the habit. Be a Hero… don’t drive distracted.

Road Safety Week aims to recognise everyone who helps us make safe safer journeys or cares for someone after a crash is a road safety hero. We can all be road safety heroes too, by using roads safely to protect ourselves and other people. 
Brake is a charity that provide support to victims of road crashes, so you can also be a hero by raising funds in whatever way you fancy, for the charity.

Of course, road safety isn’t just for one week… it needs to be an ongoing way of life… and we need to see a cultural change to driving behaviour to enable some big reductions in the numbers of wholly avoidable crashes, injuries and deaths that occur on the roads.

It may have only been a few weeks since my last offering on this subject, but there has been lots happening.

A couple of weeks ago, we saw the launch of the United Nations’ and World Health Organization’s Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030.  This addresses the UN Resolution 74/299 and has a target to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries by at least 50%.

Again, the World has a challenge to reduce the appalling toll of road crash victims worldwide, and I hope that through adopting a Safe System Approach, organisations, both private and public, can really make a difference. I am proud to be a part of the many initiatives that FM Conway have taken with road safety, for which we are recognised internationally, and also for my role in encouraging and assisting organisations to meet the international standard for Road Traffic Safety Management System, ISO39001.

Talking of which… I’m happy to report that FM Conway has just passed its latest ISO39001 audit from BSI, with no issues arising. In fact, BSI consider us to be the standard they expect other businesses to work to, and I am working with them on a case study to encourage more business to adopt the standard.

I’m also very proud to be assisting a very well-known retail business to develop an ISO39001 system. The company operates a very large fleet, with large lorries distributing goods from depot to depot, and a fleet of smaller vehicles delivering from depots to homes. They are a big fish, but at this stage I  am sworn to secrecy!! I am particularly pleased to be helping them because they are not adopting the standard to address any contractual need… they are doing it because they consider it the right thing to do and they believe it will make their fleet activities safer. I am delighted to be proving my assistance for no charge, in my own time, because their motives are good.

I look forward to telling you more about it and ask, in the meantime, that you honour Road Safety Week by following some of my safer driving suggestions.