Complex human behavior Drug is common. Yet, road safety education is often too easy for young drivers. They are inexperienced and biologically wired to be at greatest risk of colliding with other vehicles. It’s time to look at a more proactive approach to driver education.
We currently focus on teaching the young about major crash risk. We then tell them to not take these risks. Surely this doesn’t help?
Young drivers are at greater risk from speeding and driving when tired. Drivers are more likely to become distracted by their mobile phones and other secondary tasks, which can distract them from the road.
Young drivers don’t have to take risks alone. These young drivers are often seen on the roads every day by their family and friends, which encourages them to take risks. These risks, combined with the lack of experience, are more likely to cause a collision for the young driver.
It is realistic to assume that we can plan ahead and not become tired while driving. How many people refuse to use their phones while driving? Why do we expect young drivers to be this connected in today’s world? Why is it that youth road safety education adopts a just don’t do it message?
Certain Risks Are Unavoidable Drug
Education has moved away from this approach in other areas of youth health. Education has evolved to teach young people how to minimize risk and reduce harm when they do take them. Some risks can even be consider unavoidable.
One example of this shift is the transition from just say no towards safe sex education in the 1970s. Many feared that this would result in young men having sex earlier. These fears were unfound. Research continues to show that sex education is link with lower teenage pregnancies.
This also known as minimization or risk reduction. This is especially true in the context of risky alcohol or other drug use. You can think of safe injection rooms, needle exchange programs and, most recently, pill testing. These initiatives receive mix support, but they proven to reduce harm.
Many other road safety measures allow for error margins and include harm-reduction methods. These include vehicle technologies that only activate after a threshold has been exceed and demerit points systems for offences. These include seatbelt reminders and speed alerts.
Systems engineering is actually based on the acceptance of human-made risk. Systems are re-engineer to reduce or transform the risk of harm if it is not possible to eliminate risk.
What Would Harm Reduction Look Like For Young Drivers?
Even though they may not be aware, many experienced drivers make it easier to compensate for dangerous driving conditions.
These compensating behaviors reduce crash risk, according to physics. This gives drivers a better view of the road and allows them to spot potential hazards earlier. This gives drivers more time and space to react quickly to potential hazards.
Driving education should still be based on harm reduction. It would challenge young people to think about their “inevitable” risks. Will they resist the temptation to speed up when they are late for work? They will obey all road rules, even if they see others violating them. What would their answers look like if they were accompanied by family members or friends?
Young people will need to find strategies to minimize the potential negative consequences of the risks if they are not able or willing to eliminate them. Many risks can reduce by slowing down or increasing the following distance.
Another option is to interact with your phone while you are stop at traffic lights, rather than when you move – although this still teaches that it is not risk-free.