At IAM RoadSmart we talk a lot about the dangers of distraction when it comes to driving – and yes distraction plays a very large part in many accidents.
Music can be both a distraction and a way of keeping the driver alert. Too loud or too high the bpm, the greater the chance the driver will go faster and less able to hear of other things around them.
And as someone who has now reached their 40’s, I can now move into the camp of those who say “why do kids have to listen to music all the time?!”
Things were not a lot different when I was younger, as Walkmans became affordable and everyone started walking around listening to them – thus raising concerns of younger people not listening (or watching) out for the dangers on the roads.
The difference now as we move into the iPod/Smartphone era is that it isn’t just children using them. Adult pedestrians are also permanently glued to their headphones. This week a neighbour walked out of his house with headphones already on – and promptly walked across the road in front of me not even looking in my direction, causing me to brake sharply and swear under my breath. Not what you want on a drizzly Tuesday at 6.30am!
So what’s the answer?
Perhaps it’s time to go old school. Many of my age will remember Tufty from school. This was a cartoon squirrel and his leaflets, adverts and assorted promotional items were synonymous with an era of children being taught road safety messages. More than 30 years later I still remember both Tufty and the Green Cross Code as clear and long lasting road safety campaigns.
The Government’s THINK! campaigns are both imaginative and thought provoking, and I congratulate them on their hard work and dedication in making their campaigns grab the attention.
But maybe it’s time to turn the clock back, and for a new road safety hero to arrive and stick around for a while, to help children latch onto a character for their road safety lessons.
Son of Tufty maybe!
By Rodney Kumar, IAM RoadSmart senior communications executive (and not a squirrel!)