All road users, motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists are being warned they are entering the worst time of the year for road deaths and injuries on our roads.
Rural roads, with lighter traffic and pleasant scenery, can easily lull drivers into a false sense of security. This over-relaxed comfort level can lead to motorists driving at unsafe speeds, distracted, fatigued, unbelted or impaired — all of which increase the likelihood of a crash.
Each year there are more people killed every July on our nation’s roads compared to other months. Some reasons for this are because more tourists are on our roads, more sporting and other outdoor events take place, and the long bright evenings means more people are walking and cycling late in the day.
Over the period 1997 to 2007, there have been 13 deaths on Co Mayo roads in the month of July, and to date in 2009 six people have lost their lives on Mayo roads.
Road safety officer Noel Gibbons said: “Motorists should take extra care and must adapt their driving style according to the road and weather conditions, and common sense needs to prevail to reduce the number of collisions on our roads - slow down, stay alert, stay calm, and stay in control.”
Research published by the Road Safety Authority in 2008 showed that almost half (46 per cent ) of road deaths in Ireland occurred at the weekends. Sunday is statistically the most dangerous day of the week. The hour between 9pm and 10pm was shown to be the most dangerous period of the day with 13 per cent of road deaths occurring in that time.
Conor Faughnan, AA Ireland, said: “Driving patterns are different in summer. The good weather and the holiday season will bring a lot of people onto unfamiliar roads and sees them making longer journeys. But the road safety data is terrifying. It is very important that you remember to drive carefully. The big killers are speeding, drink driving, and not wearing a seatbelt, but long cross country journeys also bring the danger of fatigue.”
Sergeant Tom Calvey of Castlebar Garda station added: “Motorists have been advised to drive with extra care at a time of the year that sees more people taking to the road. For safety reasons, motorists are also advised to turn on dipped headlights to improve visibility while driving. Pedestrians are advised to take heed of traffic while crossing the roads, particularly at busy junctions or when their view is obstructed.”