Belfast Telegraph

Risky behaviour and potentially lethal weapons don't mix

By PSNI Inspector Rosie Leech

You are in control of a potentially lethal weapon. You need to recognise that and you need to take personal responsibility for your behaviour when you are behind the wheel. Over 95% of collisions are human error and that will be the risk-taking as well.

That sort of statistic pushes it right back onto the individual, because you won't be able to walk away from that responsibility and you don't want us investigating because we will find out the truth.

We would see risk-taking as being absolutely fundamental. We always say that excess speed is the single largest collision factor, but actually careless driving, which includes reckless overtaking etc, comprises a bigger percentage.

Careless driving and all the various forms it takes is more of a factor in road traffic collisions.

There are certain places where it is not appropriate to overtake. When you get bad weather that further compounds your visibility.

Coming to a bend or the crest of a hill, you wouldn't be going out for an overtake or coming to an junction because you never know if a vehicle is going to emerge.

Before overtaking you should make sure the road is sufficiently clear ahead and road users are not beginning to overtake you.

That's your shoulder check. Always make sure you make a right shoulder check. Is there suitable gap in the road where you plan to overtake?

Risky behaviour is trying to drive when your attention is diverted. Whether that's looking at your mobile phone, looking at your sat nav, anything that is distracting you is risky driving behaviour.

Impatience, lack of courtesy and all those other things start to pile on the risk factors because everybody is in a hurry and needs to be places. They are not taking their time.

Inspector Rosie Leach is from the PSNI's Road Policing Unit

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