Eighty per cent of accidents that have been occurring in Malaysia are caused by human-related factors.
This include several actions conducted while driving, such as using the phone, driving too slow, too fast, being unaware of the road condition, unaware of warning signs, spacing out, mechanical errors, and ego.
All these actions share one similarity; a complete disregard of personal and others’ safety by not paying attention.
Before I go any further, please refrain from saying things like “I know my own skills” and “I am alert even though I am using the phone”.
There is a fine line between being skilful and being ignorant.
But that is our problem, isn’t it?
We treat driving like buying groceries or going for a jog.
We often fail to realize that we are travelling in a metal box while being surrounded by hard plastic that would kill us upon impact if the speed is fast enough.
And we often fail to understand one fact; driving is dangerous, and no, I am not talking about motorsports alone.
It is an act that should not and must not be carried out without being cautious and alert.
There are too many road users who are simply oblivious of the danger.
Take a look at the accident news every day, and you will see a pattern.
It is quite hard for you to miss.
You will hear that the driver had lost control of the vehicle before crashing onto another object.
How could you have lost control of a 1.2 tonne vehicle that is completely, seemingly under your control?
Further inspection revealed that the tyres had worn out, or the brakes were not functioning correctly, or loss of tyre traction due to slippery road, or simply, ‘fell asleep’.
All of the above are human factors, because the driver failed to realize that the vehicle required maintenance, or the vehicle was travelling too fast.
Eighty per cent of accidents are caused by human factor, and this statistic was provided by PLUS Berhad, the highway concessionaire.
It was compiled from accident statistics across West Malaysia, where they would conduct their own separate study to make the roads safer.
Some of these stretches have already received several enhancements, such as LED lights, speed bumps, and more visible warning signs.
But these safety measures cannot replace being prepared and staying alert during driving.
Actually, you would not need such measures if you are vigilant enough.
I did not write this to preach, nor did I wish to change the mentality of road users.
This article serves as a reminder that even the best of drivers, with the best of machines, and the best of talents, would still wear fireproof suits, the safest helmet, and, yes, seatbelts, during any major races around the globe.
In 2013, 6,915 fatal accidents were recorded.
That’s about 576 deaths monthly, or 19 daily.
Please do not become part of this statistic.
Words: Al-mu Syarisyawal Ahmad