Road Safety Week 2022; Safe Roads for All
Organised by road safety charity, Brake, 14-20 November, 2022 marks ‘Road Safety Week’, an annual event that is dedicated to raising awareness of the key areas of road safety. Such areas can include safety for cyclists, the highway code, and the importance of visibility.
With over 1,300 road-related fatalities a year, the overall aim is to inspire and educate thousands of schools, organisations and communities to pro-actively engage in road safety. It is also an opportunity for road safety professionals to outline risks and raise awareness of common hazards. Taking part is a proactive measure for everyone, and a potential preventative of unnecessary tragedies.
Each year a different theme is highlighted. The title for 2022 is: Everyone’s Life Matters on the Road.
There is no sole cause of road accidents. Dangerous driving and speeding tend to remain firmly at the top of the list, but there are many other precursors. Believe it or not, vehicle defects can lead to a large number of dangerous, and sometimes fatal, accidents.
Accidents and breakdowns relating to vehicle faults are wholly unnecessary, and can be easily prevented with regular maintenance checks. This is applicable to all road-users from road cyclists to HGV drivers. We understand that taking the time out to check a seemingly perfect-working vehicle can seem inconvenient and time-wasting (if it ain’t broke, why fix it?) but when safety is the payoff, it is, undoubtedly, time well spent.
HGV drivers spend long hours behind the wheel, a factor alone that increases the risk of an accident. When coupled with the weight of goods on-board, and the consequential delay in emergency breaking, if and when necessary, it becomes glaringly apparent that the associated fatalities can be far greater than those of a smaller vehicle. (You only have to consider the impact of a 7.5 tonne vehicle to gain an insight into the potential danger!)
For those that work within the freight industry, road safety week is a key time to reflect on your overall plight for road safety. Any commercial fleet company is aware of the associated dangers of spending long periods of time on the road, and the vast rise in cars on the road simply heightens this issue tenfold. That said, ensuring that larger vehicles are thoroughly roadworthy is critical to safety.
Operator negligence occurs long before a vehicle hits the road, it beings with a sub-standard visual check, or no check at all. Generally speaking, it is during this process that tyre or wheel-related issues commonly tend to be identified.
For example, the Department for Transport (DfT) has previously reported that poor tyre maintenance is one of the main causes of accidents, far exceeding faulty brakes. These issues are largely related to low tyre pressure, tread that has worn below legal limits, and general tyre damage. Put simply, issues that are highly avoidable if sufficient checks are executed.
Misaligned wheels also carry a number of potential dangers to drivers. This issue exposes drivers and vehicles to numerous hazards, including impaired steering ability, enforced tyre drag, a weakened grip on roads and compromised braking. (Vehicles with a weaker drag also tend to consume more fuel than a well-aligned vehicle - far from ideal in the current climate!)
A professional wheel check and fitting should be an integral aspect of your maintenance, and should be done regularly. This is additional to yearly MOT’s and service checks. While visual checks are important stage of assessing vehicle safety, they can, occasionally, be less than optimal due to varying opinions. With wheel detachment being one of the deadliest incidents on the road, wheel nut checks require more in-depth analysis as they can be easily be overlooked by the human eye.
A simple solution to this problem includes the use of additional security locks, and the application of high visibility, safety indicator products. These serve as an all-important, early warning sign that a wheel nut has lost tension and could be potentially hazardous. When fitted, indicators enable a clear visual check to assure you that nothing has been overlooked.
When it comes to wheel safety solutions, all devices have varying degrees of efficacy, so engineers should always consider the needs of the vehicle and operation when making their selection.
Though impossible to account for all road accidents, a lack of regular maintenance checks is a major contributing factor. Regular services with additional checks in-between can identify anomalies and ensure that they are corrected at the earliest availability.
When pre-launch visual checks are teamed with pre-emptive safety products, drivers and fleets receive an optimal level of safety on the road. Ensure that you choose a trustworthy professional with a proven track record to keep you, and other drivers, safe on the road.
Parma Group specialise in wheel safety, so please get in touch if you have anything you’d like to discuss. And don’t forget to get involved in Road Safety Week!