Arrive Alive

Human Error As Major Cause Of Road Crashes

Human Error as Major Cause of Road CrashesHuman Error as Major Cause of Road Crashes

Driver fitness as an essential element in road safety is highlighted by international studies on the cause of most accidents. Driver Fitness can be summarized as the physical and mental ability of the driver to enhance safe driving.

Dr Green and Dr Senders discussed in an article titled "Human Error in Road Accidents" the reasons why humans make so many driving errors and they believe the answer is to be found in the inherent limitations of human information processing. Humans must rely on three fallible mental functions: perception, attention and memory.

Research on Human Error

Research has also shown that accidents occur for one of three principle reasons. The first is a perceptual error. Sometimes critical information was below the threshold for seeing - the light was too dim, the driver was blinded by the glare, or the pedestrian's clothes had low contrast. In other cases, the driver made a perceptual misjudgement (a curve's radius or another car's speed or distance).

The second and far more common cause is that the critical information was detectable but that the driver failed to attend/notice because his mental resources were focussed elsewhere. Often times, a driver will claim that s/he did not "see" a plainly visible pedestrian or car. This is entirely possible because much of our information processing occurs outside of awareness.

Mack and Rock (1998) have amazingly shown that we may be less likely to perceive an object if we are looking directly at it than if it falls outside the centre of the visual field. This "inattentional blindness" phenomenon is doubtless the cause of many accidents.

Lastly, the driver may correctly process the information but fail to choose the correct response ("I'm skidding, so I'll turn away from the skid") or make the correct decision yet fail to carry it out ("I meant to hit the break, but I hit the gas"). For response errors see "Medical Error and Mental Acts of God."

In South Africa, pedestrian fatalities have become a major contributor to road deaths. More than a third of childhood pedestrian deaths occurred over weekends and this has raised the question about drivers’ competence in terms of alertness, speeding, reaction time, and blood alcohol level. It is thus important that the Road Safety Strategy also focuses on the competence of our drivers to be alert and their ability both physically and mentally to make the right decision whilst driving.

An Informed Road User is a Safer Road User

An Informed Road User is a Safer Road User

Many of our road crashes can be prevented by addressing our driving style, behaviour and attitude towards driving. By developing the Arrive Alive website we believe that an informed driver will be a safer driver.

By creating an awareness among our drivers of the risks on the road and the knowledge on how to avoid these risks we will make our roads safer. This is done through the sharing of examples and gaining insights from experts in driver training.

Also view:

Bad Driving Habits and Unsafe Driving

Defensive Driving and Road Safety

Driver Experience, Inexperience and Road Safety

Advanced Driving, Defensive Driving and Road Safety

Search Road Safety Articles

Latest Pages

Trauma Counselling and first responders / paramedics

Trauma Counselling and first responders / paramedics

With the daily carnage on the roads of South Africa, it is not only the victims of road crashes that are exposed to trauma. Our first responders to these road crashes such as paramedics and members of the police are exposed to the trauma of horrific crashes and it is important that the long-term effects

Read More

Driving in Winter / Driving on Snow and Ice

Driving in Winter / Driving on Snow and Ice

Driving in winter may be hazardous for the unprepared and inexperienced driver. Although South Africa is not as well known for extreme winter conditions, such conditions may be extremely hazardous and many drivers might need to consider measures relating to the condition of their car as well as driving

Read More

Emergency Response Time and Response to Road Crashes

Emergency Response Time and Response to Road Crashes

Few road users are aware of the factors that could determine the time needed to respond to a vehicle accident. It is important for road users to be aware of these factors as well as steps that they can take to assist emergency teams in responding swiftly to accidents. Emergency response providers have

Read More

Safety when Witnessing and Reporting Crime on the Roads

Safety when Witnessing and Reporting Crime on the Roads

We sadly experience on our roads, not only threats from irresponsible and bad drivers but also threats to life and property from criminals targeting road users. Nearly every day we are warned of or hear about a protest action on a road somewhere, a hijack or a cash-in-transit robbery. On the Arrive

Read More

Safety and Safe Driving in Areas of Public Violence

Safety and Safe Driving in Areas of Public Violence

Introduction South Africans have in recent months experienced many traffic delays, disruptions and at times total road closures brought about by protests, riots and incidents of public violence. These protests were related to service delivery, education issues, politics and several social issues. It

Read More

Crime as a Threat to Road Safety in South Africa

Crime as a Threat to Road Safety in South Africa

South Africans live in a country blessed with beauty and diversity. We share a country with a colourful history having overcome rather significant and unique challenges. However proudly South African, we may be, we have to admit that we face serious challenges to safety daily at our homes, places

Read More

Load More Pages

Partners

View All