Traffic safety: which steps can you take?
We know cycling is good for you, but it does expose you to dangers. This is according to findings in the Monitor Verkeersveiligheid 2019 (Traffic safety survey), commissioned by the Dutch Institute for Road Safety Research. With people travelling more, an ageing population, and more things to distract us while we're on the road, records show that there were more road deaths in 2018 than the year before. Although the Dutch government is implementing measures, your individual actions are an essential part of improving road safety – both for yourself and for those around you.
What can you do as a cyclist?
Some cyclists increase their risk of an accident by cycling through red lights, using their mobile phone on their bike, being under the influence of substances, or by cycling without lights. How can you cycle as safely as possible?
- Wear a helmet: if you fall, it will protect your head.
- Follow traffic rules and traffic signs: red lights, being forbidden from using your mobile when cycling, and being required to turn on your lights when cycling are rules that were implemented for a reason.
- Turn on your light: make sure other road users can see you.
- Wear high-visibility clothing when cycling in the dark: this will make you more visible.
- Make sure you stay out of the blind spot of lorries and SUVs.
What can you do as a driver?
- Designated driver: people who do not consume alcohol respond more quickly to unexpected situations.
- Always take your car to the compulsory vehicle inspections.
- CHECK YOUR TYRES every two months: under-inflated car tyres increase fuel consumption and reduce the grip you have on the road.
- ADJUST your mirrors and seat: ensuring you have good visibility is essential.
- SET YOUR NAVIGATION BEFORE DEPARTURE: If you’re looking at a screen, you aren’t paying attention to the road. That is why you should enter your destination into your navigation app or device before you start driving and not while you are on the road.
- DON’T LET OTHERS RUSH YOU: If someone is tailgating you or beeping at you, do not respond to it. Give those drivers space, or let them pass.
- NEVER BE AN UNPREDICTABLE DRIVER: this can agitate and confuse other road users. Use common sense when making decisions. If you make a mistake and miss an exit, remain calm and recover by deciding your next steps.
- Drive DEFENSIVELY: keep enough distance and look ahead. This will ensure that you are not dependent on other drivers.
- TAKE THE WEATHER INTO ACCOUNT: Every season has different weather conditions. Take these differences into account before you drive.
- ENOUGH FUEL: Knowing you've got enough fuel gives you peace of mind, so you can keep your eyes on the road.
- MAKE SURE YOU'RE FIT: Tiredness and medication use influence how you drive.
- DRIVE the ‘mono’ way: Don't use your phone, as it is dangerous and you may be fined.