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Car Corner: If you’re 20, don’t drive on Friday

Half of fatal motor vehicle collisions occur in dry weather, when accidents should be rarer.
stock car accident photo
More awareness of the potential for collisions to occur even under ideal driving conditions could help younger, less experienced drivers avoid becoming grim statistics.

According to a report from Manitoba Public Insurance, 7,903 people got their drivers license last year. According to the same report, 20 percent of all fatal collisions are caused by young drivers, ages 16  to 24. Now, that may be true, but let me tell you how we can truly fix it.

I was listening to the radio last week, which was Teen Driver Safety Week –the most anticipated week of the year – and I heard an advertisement from MPI. It was that beginning line, “20 percent of all fatal collisions are caused by young drivers” that piqued my attention as it should in a public service announcement. People think it’s just young people being young people and while, yes, that may be true for some, it’s not for all. You’ll get the occasional driver that decides to go 97 in a 50 and ends up totalling their parents’ car and killing themselves and the potential passengers in a soupy mess a twisted metal and bone. For the most part, young people are relatively normal drivers, following the same rules as everyone else, aren’t they? So why is the death rate so high?

You’re more likely to die in a car accident on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, and less likely to die on a Thursday. That’s likely due to more traffic, which may include young people, but we can’t quite attribute that as the reason. I think the reason is this:

The lack of experience for young drivers and possibly lack of experience from teaching drivers may contribute greatly to the unfortunate 20 percent casualty rate. If we take a look at statistics from previous years, the trend continues upwards and is expected to rise.

This is honestly the opposite of what I thought. More collisions happen on a clear, dry day than any other road condition. Confidence levels are high, grip is good, I can see very well, I wonder how powerful the engine is and the last thing you’ll ever do is mash your foot to the floor and step on it or dump the clutch at an intersection for some reason. Not the best idea. Half of all deaths in motor vehicles were in dry weather. 

People, especially drivers aged 16 to 24, are very, very aware of how dangerous ice, snow, slush, and rain are for motor vehicles and evidently, they’re careful. I’m willing to bet that if the dry weather is focused on in teaching just as much as the bad conditions, the death rate would go down. 

I’d like to take a moment to quickly speak directly to the men. This is why you pay more for insurance. Are you ready? Your fatality rate is more than double that of women – 33.3 per cent for women and 66.7 per cent for men and that’s from MPI’s official 2020 report. There’s a time and a place for all driving fun. A vehicle is very dangerous if not used properly. It’s important to be diligent when behind the wheel. And making sure you’re comfortable is the most important thing a driver can do. 

If you’re teaching someone to drive, make sure you teach safe driving practices in addition to rules of the road and defensive driving. Every step is essential when it comes to keeping other road users safe. It’s up to everyone to make the roads safer.  

A recent transplant to Thompson, Jay Hurley is a freelance columnist with a focus on cars, lifestyle and culinary arts. He is from Ontario and studied broadcast and contemporary media. 

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