Road safety is the key. Everybody sees it as a priority; however, not everybody knows that…

Opinions are divided on road safety, due to sometimes gruesome news reports. To make sure those reports are just random cases or exceptions, we have realized that it is important to raise a road safety awareness by developing a safety culture and promoting an ethical behaviour focused on the respect of human lives. For this purpose, the first ones to be challenged were the main players of the automotive world. They have immediately shared the common goal of reducing the number of accidents and road casualties. Continental  has stood out for its special engagement over the years. Thanks to its background, it helped us focus on the aspects to consider to improve road safety.

Tips to improve road safety

The most important factor to improve road safety is the awareness of road users – whether they are pedestrians, cyclists, bikers, motorists, or truck drivers – and therefore, their daily behaviour. As mentioned in the beginning of this article, this awareness stems from knowledge: this is why we offer you five hints to think about carefully.

1. Tyres play a key role

The first remark by Continental is the following: tyres are the only contact point between the vehicle and the road, therefore they play a vital role in keeping you safe. According to the laws of physics, the frictional force between the road and the tyre is what allows the tyre to “push” off the road, thus moving the car forward. Moreover, all dynamic actions of a car, such as steering, braking and accelerating, affect the tyres. By the way, the contact patch is not bigger than the palm of your hand. Tyres are therefore the most active safety equipment of a vehicle. Yet unfortunately, most drivers are not aware of the importance of this equipment for their personal safety.

2. Italians do not think they are a danger to other road users

Most drivers of the “Bel Paese” (classical poetical appellative for Italy, meaning the “beautiful country”, TN) do not think they are a danger to other road users. This was revealed by a Continental Road Safety Observatory survey carried out in partnership with Euromedia Search. 79.5% of those interviewed call themselves “law-abiding citizens regardless of the presence of a police control”, whilst 8.7% of them say they comply with rules only if police are nearby. 87.4% of respondents trust their own abilities and their self-control while driving. Italian drivers have always shared a sense of trust in their abilities, and this trend is now confirmed also by the statistics. The survey has involved all road users, from motorists to bikers, from cyclists to pedestrians, not to mention truck drivers, to develop a more comprehensive scenario of road safety as perceived by Italians.

3. Responsibility lies with the driver. Yet, technology matters as well

How can we improve road safety? According the Continental Road Safety Observatory survey, 34.9% of respondents rely on drivers and their sense of responsibility; 16.7% on greater severity from Law enforcement authorities and their larger presence on roads and motorways. Then, 15.5% of respondents rely on car and tyre manufacturers. Therefore, although driver’s responsibility is deemed crucial, technology is seen as an essential factor, thanks to constantly changing systems designed to alert drivers of possible dangerous situations. The so-called ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) contribute to a significant increase of safety standards, thus reducing the risk of accidents. We are talking about advanced systems such as the adaptive cruise control, the automatic emergency braking system, the lane change warning system, the automatic detection and recognition of traffic signs, rain sensors, dusk sensors and so on.

4. Vehicle maintenance? It is far more important than we ever thought.

To achieve a high safety level, a good vehicle maintenance is crucial: corretta manutenzione nel tempo. Special attention should be paid to tyres, which must be checked regularly, ensuring that they operate under optimal conditions. Indeed, checking that their pressure is correct, ensuring they are not worn out and regularly rotating them are basic actions for safe driving. Improperly inflated tyres extend the stopping distance and have an impact on consumption and on their lifespan: therefore, it is essential to regularly check their pressure. It is also recommended to swap out tyres on the same axle every 10,000-15,000 km, thus contributing to equalize tread wear. Moreover, it is important to check tire’s tread depth. We remind you that this one cannot be less than 1.6 mm thick, pursuant to Traffic Code regulations, even if field tests proved that it would be a good idea to replace tyres as they are 3 mm thick. How will the future of road safety look like? According to the Continental survey, 43.5% of Italians believe that security and “alert” systems enabling to avoid accidents are the key factor for next-generation vehicles. This shows how much safety is increasingly seen as a priority for drivers. The survey also shows that 59.2% of respondents think that driver assistance systems are valid tools, yet they cannot solve the road safety issue, while 37.9% consider they are still crucial. Moreover, 12.2% of respondents think that environmentally friendly fuel is essential for next-generation vehicles, while 10.5% consider that self-driving cars, where vehicles and infrastructures can interact, are a key factor.

5. Safety is the priority for drivers of the future

Continental has a vital role to play, since it has a comprehensive vision of road safety relying on the production of increasingly efficient tyres and on the search of the best active technology in vehicles. It believes in suitable infrastructures and effective road safety education. The Continental world is charming and much more multifaceted than we think: Continental is not only one of the world’s largest tyre manufacturers, it is also the fourth world’s biggest producer of patents on autonomous driving. Continental supports a programmatic vision for the future (an example of this is Vision Zero, aiming at “Zero Fatalities, Zero Injuries, Zero Crashes” on the road), building on the conviction that the values, abilities and strategies developed may benefit pedestrians, cyclists, bikers, motorists and truck drivers, which will be able to share the road safely.

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