07 January 2013

Richard Paul poses some challenging thoughts on interim measures on accident reduction on the A9 whilst the huge dualling project unfolds

On the A9 people die because they think that single carriageway sections are dual carriageway. This will be cured by converting the road to dual carriageway all the way.  Excellent, but it won’t happen for many years.

Interim Road Modifications
A9duallinglogoWebIn the meantime, why not increase the number of arrows painted on the single carriageway sections to indicate which way the traffic should be going. It would be relatively inexpensive. You would be unlikely to drive up the wrong side of the road against numerous large white arrows pointing at you.
In general, the number of accidents increases at night because it is harder to see against the glare of on-coming headlights.
Smart glass exists that can exclude the glare whilst allowing the driver to see out to the road. Why do all cars not have windscreens made of such glass?

Vehicle Improvements
The same applies to mirrors. Some sections of the A9 have numerous red cat’s eyes along the verge. These pick out the edge of the road very well and if all sections were so equipped it would make it much easier to steer at night. The yellow cat’s eyes in the centre could be increased in number too.
Large lorries and coaches often have signs on the rear saying – “if you can’t see my mirrors I can’t see you.” This is madness. These vehicles cost many tens of thousands of pounds surely they should have a camera device that removes the blind spots behind them.
Some vehicles have split mirrors that remove the blind spot when a vehicle is overtaking. Should this not be compulsory for all vehicles?
Some vehicles have heating elements embedded in their windscreens to quickly remove frost and misting. This should be universal. Windscreen washer liquid often freezes in winter and the washers are rendered inoperative.
How often have you seen vehicles in the laybys on the A9 trying to get their washers to work? The pipes that supply the liquid should have heating wires wrapped in a spiral around them so that the liquid within does not freeze.
Winter tyres on the driving wheels should be compulsory between November and February. This will stop vehicles getting stuck in many snowy conditions.

Drivers - Young and Old
Young men are statistically the most dangerous drivers. Ideally they should start driving at a later age than girls but equality legislation will not allow this. Instead all young drivers should have tachographs fitted to their vehicles. If they exceed the speed limit they should be banned for a year and have to re-sit the test. Young drivers (say, under 21) should not be able to take passengers who are younger than 25 as they may be a distraction.
Drivers over the age of 60 should re-sit the test every 5 years to ensure that they remain capable and they should have their eyesight tested for distance and night vision.
The driving test should include driving at night, driving on motorways and on skid pans to simulate snow and ice. Anti-sleep alarms exist – perhaps these should be compulsory, too?
All very draconian, you might think, but it is a matter of life and death after all.

Views on Richard’s suggested measures are welcomed at CLOAKING


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