Accidents due to driving cars with 'motorcycle mindset'

March 11, 2024 | 03:24 pm PT
To Thuc Researcher
Following some serious accidents in Vietnam recently, many have blamed drivers' poor awareness; I think it's a problem that needs both technical and awareness adjustments.

One big problem with Vietnamese drivers is that they are driving cars on expressways the same way they would ride a motorbike on an inner-city road.

They do not keep a safe distance from other vehicles.

They try to fill in any space on the road, and they even tailgate each other looking to cross the road, or switch lanes at any second.

These drivers seem to be unaware of how fast they are moving and how big an impact a sudden incident could have when they give people no time to react.

Some drivers just stop to urinate, or eat, right on the expressway.

Drivers' need to build and demonstrate their awareness during training before they get their licenses.

And even that is not enough.

They should be constantly reminded that their poor awareness can cause grave consequences. Just like smokers are reminded of their habit's consequences with graphic images on the pack of cigarettes, we need giant signboards on the road to remind drivers what they should and should not do. For example, when drivers are about to reach an area where they can switch lanes, the board can tell them not to rush to switch lanes now and wait a bit more.

I've seen these kinds of signboards in Vietnam but there are not enough of them to create effective warnings for drivers yet.

Sometimes I have another, more special kind of sign on the road: a flower bouquet tied to an electric pole.

Such reminders are often placed from the family of a deadly traffic accident victim. They want to pay tribute to their beloved, and to remind drivers to be careful. And I actually have seen drivers being more careful going past such impromptu signs.

Educating drivers is not simple. If they are not constantly reminded of possible consequences, they'll slowly lose what little awareness they do have.

*To Thuc is a lecturer at James Cook University in Australia.

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