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– Road Safety –
Lesson 101 – Road Safety
With over one billion cars in the world there is need now, more than ever, to re-address issues of road safety. For all the precautions taken we still see over one million fatalities a year, with most accidents occurring in China and India. Half of the world’s road traffic deaths occur among motorcyclists (23%), pedestrians (22%) and cyclists (5%), also known as « vulnerable road users » with car occupants accounting for 31% of deaths and the remaining 19% among unspecified road users. In Europe, car occupant fatalities make up 50% of all road accidents on the continent. Although this may seem quite daunting, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that fatalities caused by road users would be drastically increased were it not for road safety, the highway code and the driving test.
Drivers licences were first introduced in Britain in 1903 as part of the Motor Car Act and was used as a means of identifying vehicles and their drivers. The act deemed that it was necessary for all motor vehicles to be registered and licensed annually. The cost of this vehicle licensing back then was 20 shillings, which equates to one pound. Driving licences cost a lot less at 5 shillings (25 pence), though failure to sign the licence correctly could well lead to a fine of 5 pounds. There were 1 million drivers in Britain in 1921, this figure having tripled by 1939. The 1960s saw cars becoming more affordable and as a result by 1973 the number of drivers had risen to around 20 million. At the beginning of 1931, there was estimated to be 2.3 million cars on Britain’s roads and reckless driving was claiming over 7,000 lives each year.
It was in this year that the first Highway Code was published, a set of mandatory rules, guides, advice, and information for all road users in the United Kingdom. At the cost of 1 old penny, The Highway code contained 18 pages, compared to the 135+ pages it has today. The first edition of the manual included advice for drivers of horse drawn vehicles but as technology has advanced so too has the code. Much as it does today, the first manual urged all road users to be careful and considerate towards others, putting safety first. Though rules and guidance with regards to the use of mirrors were not even mentioned and drivers were advised to sound their horns when overtaking. Further to this, more than a third of the manual was dedicated to hand signals to be used by road users and the police, whereas now, what with painted roads, street signs and indicators, takes up only one page.
The first road signs passage was included in the second edition of the manual, although there were only 10 of these signs. It also highlighted warnings about the dangers of driving when affected by alcohol or fatigue and advised pedestrians on safety when crossing the road, an aspect that would later develop into the Green Cross Code. This 70-page manual would offer important advice for pedestrians and introduce the new orange badges for people with a disability. The third edition would go on to address stopping distances and include hints on driving and cycling.
Whilst the manual addressed road safety and was fastly becoming a bestseller, accidents still occurred. The 1954 Highway Code offered first aid guidance, while the expanded traffic signs section contained the first triangular warning signs. The arrival of motorways in the late 1950s led to the inclusion, in the fifth edition, of a new section on motorway driving. It explained such things as how to use exit slip roads and advising drivers to avoid drowsiness by stretching their legs at the parking or service areas.
As the Highway Code developed, photographs and 3D illustrations were included in order to help road users understand the rules better. The 90s saw the inclusion of a section geared to the new driving theory test, which in the current edition has now become part of the Code itself. Although the manual started out as a guide to road safety, certain rules in the Highway Code are now legal requirements and are identified by the words ‘must’ or ‘must not’. In these cases, the rules also include references to the corresponding legislation. Offenders may be cautioned, given license penalty points, fined, banned from driving, or imprisoned, depending on the severity of the offence.
As technology has improved and the number of cars on the road has increased so too has the manual had to keep up with modern times. The latest Highway Code addressing issues of gridlock, environmental damage, proposing drivers switch off their engines while stationary to reduce fuel emissions, cruise control, advice about being distracted by GPS systems, and speed cameras. The code has also reacted to current accidents trends by including advice on the use of powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters. We will finish by comparing some of the questions posed, then and now:
What should drivers do with their whips?
If a driver flapped his wrist out of the window, what did this indicate?
How did motorists indicate an intention to overtake?
What was indicated by the road sign that shows a flaming torch?
What was the « wrong » side of the road?
What is the difference between the stopping times for 50 mph in the 1954 edition and the present day?
If you are a walking along a pavement or footpath, what should you take care to do?
What should cyclists wear?
Can you take a mobile phone call while driving at 30mph in a built-up area?
Interactive Video Comprehension Quiz 1:
Summary Statements Comprehension Quiz 2:
Drag and Drop Quiz 3:
Let’s take one more look at the COMPARATIVES and SUPERLATIVES:
There are three possibilities:
|=||AS…AS||Her food is as good as at the restaurant.|
|For adjectives with 3 syllables or more, we use: more…than…|
Learning Chinese is more difficult than learning English.Learning English is less time-consuming than learning Chinese.
For adjectives of 1 or 2 syllables, do not use “more“: we put “-er” at the end of the adjective.
There are exceptions: GOOD → BETTER BAD → WORSE
You can’t say: It is more easier. But you can say:
|MUCH EASIER||MUCH FASTER|
|MUCH BIGGER||MUCH BETTER|
|MUCH MORE DIFFICULT||MUCH MORE COMPLICATED|
There are two possibilities:
Her house is the most amazing.
Her dog is the least friendly.
For adjectives with 1 or 2 syllables, we do not use “the most”: We use “the…” y “est” at the end of the adjective. Sometimes, doubling the final consonant.
(-Y → -IEST)
There are exceptions: GOOD → THE BEST BAD → THE WORST.
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