Despite a 10 year drop in the amount of road fatalities in British Columbia, there are still 288 road deaths every year in BC, according to Road Safety BC statistics. Canadian drivers are generally very responsible ones, with the WHO reporting a national rate lower than anywhere else in North America and much of Europe. That being said, more could be done – the likes of Japan and the UK have far lower rates.
The fact is, as time and motoring have aged, the risks associated with it have changed. New vehicle designs with energy efficiency have their own idiosyncrasies, and people are behaving differently on the road. The key to staying safe? Awareness.
Today’s biggest threat
When you think of road danger, some well-known situations spring to mind. The likes of alcohol use, drug use and speeding remain big causes of road injury. However, as Road Safety BC statistics have outlined, the biggest single cause of road fatality in BC is distracted driving, accounting for 27.1% of all fatalities. A big cause of this threat is smartphones. UBC neuroethics professor Peter Reiner has suggested that many BC natives are addicted to smartphones, becoming reliant on them. The result is that many adults are all too likely to take their eyes off the road. This is a threat to the victim and the distracted driver; as US-based Scottsdale personal injury attorney has outlined, it can be difficult to attribute blame and make reasonable insurance claims. Stay aware of other drivers on the road texting and driving.
Dealing with new vehicles
Automated cars hit headlines worldwide earlier this year when far from the BC borders in Toronto, an Uber automatic car caused a road fatality. While this seems a freak occurrence, it pays as a driver to be aware of how technology is transforming cars. Province authorities have already OK’d driverless cars for rollout at some point, so British Columbia will be seeing these vehicles on the roads over the coming years. Furthermore, more and more drivers are relying on automated map systems – like sat nav – that can cause spontaneous or unpredictable movements on the roads. This can be somewhat hard to account for. The best route to take is to keep your own awareness up – look out for cars making erratic or unsure movements, and adjust your own driving accordingly to prevent fender benders.
Driving has always carried hazards, but successful campaigns to reduce the rate of drink and drug driving and road safety awareness have helped to mitigate historic causes. Technology, as wonderful as it is, has created new threats that can’t be ignored. Developing and maintaining your own awareness is the key to staying safe on modern BC roads.