Tips for safe travel – Opinion

Many fatal accidents often occur during the holiday period. Increased alcohol consumption, along with heavy traffic and distraction on the roads, often causes more injuries and deaths.

Although addressing this problem requires concerted actions by governments, effective regulations and law enforcement, there are also some things that citizens can put into practice. Here are some measures suggested by the World Health Organization.

The belt, always

You are much more likely to survive a collision if you wear a seat belt, which reduces the risk of death by up to 60%.

All passengers in the car must fasten their seatbelts on each trip, regardless of their duration or destination. WHO also recommends adequate child restraint systems for children under 4 years and booster seats for children up to 10 years of age or 1.35 cm tall.

No alcohol while driving

Alcohol is an important risk factor for injuries and should never be mixed with road trips. Even low levels of alcohol consumption are associated with a significant increase in risks, whether on foot journeys or in two- or four-wheel vehicles.

It is always safer not to drink, but if you do, do not exceed the recommended limits; Or better yet, be sure to arrange an alternative transportation for you and your family.

The helmet, also by bicycle

In many low and middle-income countries, motorcyclists and cyclists account for more than half of those injured or killed on the roads, with head injuries being the leading cause of death.

If you suffer an accident, the correct use of the helmet – by the driver of the bicycle or motorcycle and by the passenger – can give you up to 40% more likely to survive.

The correct use of the helmet does not only mean making sure you wear it at all times when you are on the road. It must also fit and hold properly, so that it provides the best possible protection when necessary.

Set speed limit

Excessive or inappropriate speed contributes to one in three deaths from traffic accidents. The higher your speed, the greater the risk of an accident and the greater the likelihood of such an accident costing someone's life.

With an impact speed of 80 km / h, the probability of death in a crash is 20 times greater than at an impact speed of 30 km / h. Therefore, reduce your speed, know the traffic rules and always respect the speed limits.

The cell phone, the main distraction

There are many types of distractions that can lead to the decline of driving capabilities, but the distraction caused by mobile phones is a particular and growing concern.

Drivers who use mobile phones are approximately four times more likely to be involved in an accident. Hands-free phones are not much safer, and sending text messages multiplies the risk by more than twenty.

So make sure your phone is silent and out of reach when you are driving.

Promote road safety as prevention

Finally, everyone has a role to play in promoting road safety and taking measures to prevent the millions of unnecessary deaths from traffic accidents that occur not only during the holidays, but every day of all years.

WHO is helping countries to implement a series of fundamental measures to improve road safety for all people. These include the formulation and application of laws on speeding, the prevention of driving under the influence of alcohol, and the use of safety belts, helmets and restraint systems for children, as well as regulations on vehicles .

Governments must also ensure that road and transport infrastructure is safe for road and pedestrian users, including through measures such as the construction of sidewalks and bicycle lanes and the provision of emergency care for accident victims.

You can get more information about whether your country meets all of these recommendations using the new WHO application for road safety worldwide.

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