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Don’t be slow in looking back

Motorists who drive too slowly without considering other road users may be contributing to collisions and casualties, according to a road safety expert in Co. Mayo.

The call comes for motorists to regularly check their mirrors as traffic starts getting heavier and heavier on Irish roads with campervans and other slow moving vehicles taking to our roads and summer is traditionally the most dangerous time on the road.

If you will, imagine yourself driving down the road.. Five minutes has now passed. How many times have you checked your mirrors? Ten times? Maybe twenty if you are a really good driver, right? Actually, if you answered anything less than 60 times you are not checking your mirrors enough. Yep, that’s right; according to experts , you should be checking your mirrors every five seconds. And this includes all of your mirrors, not just the rearview one. As if every five seconds isn’t enough, you should also be checking your mirrors before you slow down, while you are stopped, before changing lanes, and before and after turns.

First off, this does not mean you need to study your mirrors every five seconds, because then, frankly, you would miss what was going on ahead of you. You simply need to glance in all three mirrors every five seconds. By doing so, you are keeping yourself aware of everything going on around you, which is the key to being a successful defensive driver.

Motorists can experience increased stress levels and heightened irritability when faced with a vehicle driving more slowly than other traffic. While slow speeds are rarely a direct cause of accidents, associated behaviours often lead to dangerous driving scenarios.

Ill-judged overtaking, tailbacks sparking road-rage, and those who fail to merge properly with motorways are typically associated with inadequate speed.

Noel Gibbons road safety officer with Mayo County Council said: “We are not advocating for drivers to speed up. All drivers should give due care and consideration to their fellow motorists now that more-and-more of us are once again getting behind the wheel.

”Slow drivers may unknowingly contribute to other motorists making sometimes fatal overtaking manoeuvres. This can be prevented by regularly checking your mirrors and being aware of what is behind your vehicle.”

Mr Gibbons emphasises that it is speeding motorists who cause deaths, but highlights the affect that slow moving vehicles can have on other road users.

He added: “What they should endeavour to do is drive at the speed appropriate to the conditions; if they’re not comfortable in doing that, we’re not asking them to speed up, we’re asking them to give way to following vehicles.

“They must be aware of the tail of vehicles behind them and by ignoring that, they’re actually driving without due care and attention. The premise is simple, reduce the need to overtake, and there will be less overtaking Collisions.

One of the most common reasons motorists drive under the speed limit is because they are driving while distracted. Typically, drivers are distracted by mobile phones. They are paying more attention to their phone and try to slow down to multitask. However, this is not safe and can lead to collisions.