The role played by weather and road conditions in accidents
When you drive in bad weather it usually takes longer and can be stressful. Leaving earlier can allow you to reach your destination without worry of running late. If possible, take an alternate route to avoid weather systems that can affect your driving.
You should drive more slowly and carefully than normal while driving in bad weather. This can reduce the possibility of accidents from skidding.
When you are driving in rain, snow, sleet etc. it is recommended by experts to double the amount of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Brake time is much slower in these types of conditions, and you have to allow for more room, in case you must suddenly have to stop.
Pulling over to a safe spot completely off the road is a very smart thing to do when you need to rest and especially when weather conditions make your visibility almost zero. If the weather involves snow or heavy rain conditions, be sure that you are not pulling into a deep snow bank or puddle.
Inspection programs and strategies vary considerably between Australian states and territories. Various overseas studies into the effectiveness of inspection programs tend to be inconclusive. Although the effects are small and are usually swamped by other factors, the costs of efficient inspection programs can also be small. This makes benefit cost studies too sensitive. Pilot studies with roller brake testers in NSW suggest that about 1 in 10 cars has serious service brake faults. Most brake faults are not readily detected by conventional road tests or visual checks. Contaminated brake fluid is also a problem. Vehicle defects contribute to crashes to a much greater extent than suggested by police statistics. Police investigations tend to assign "blame" but overlook the contribution of defects to crash severity. In depth studies suggest that vehicle factors, particularly defects, are "causal, possibly causal or contributory" in at least 12% of all crashes. Rates for older cars and heavy vehicles tend to be much higher. Vehicles involved in crashes are much more likely to have serious defects than the general population. In these cases the defects did not necessarily "cause" the crash (they might simply be an indicator of a high risk operator). However, serious defects are likely to come into play during the demanding circumstances of a crash and make the crash more severe. There is a very wide range in effectiveness of inspection programs around the world. Not all are effective at eliminating vehicles with serious defects. Decentralised programs such as the NSW Authorised Inspection Station Scheme tend to be convenient for vehicle owners and popular with the motor repair industry but it is considered that the scheme is too cumbersome to manage and inspections are too thinly spread to ensure that quality inspection are conducted. In particular, vehicles in poor condition tend to gravitate to less scrupulous AIS. Centralised programs used dedicated inspection stations with specialised equipment (particularly roller brake testing machines). Inspection quality can be much higher than with a decentralised system. Roadworthiness inspections can be efficiently combined with emissions testing in a centralised program. Random inspections, either by "invitation" to attend an inspection station or by roadside selection, are a very important component of an effective inspection system. These should apply to cars as well as trucks and buses. My recommended approach is to have a centralised program with several dedicated roadworthiness/emissions inspection stations that do periodic inspections of heavy trucks, buses and older cars and "invitation" inspections of randomly selected newer cars. These would be supplemented by a program of random roadside inspections, using portable roller brake testing machines.
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