Opinion (Rogério COPETO, Oficial da GNR): COURTESY TO THE NEED IS STEERING WHEEL.

The "World Traffic Day and courtesy to the Wheel" is celebrated next Sunday day 5 May, aiming to raise awareness of all drivers on the need for safe driving, to prevent accidents, to protect your life and that of other road users.

Rogério COPETO

Lieutenant Colonel of the GNR

Master in Law and Security and Homeland Security Auditor

Head of the Education Division / Command Doctrine and Training

By coincidence, also celebrates on Sunday the "Mother's Day", date you want to honor all mothers and serves to reinforce the love of children by their mothers, custom and offer them gifts, in demonstration of their love and thanksgiving.

And being the life of a son or daughter the greatest gift one can give to a mother, this article aims to contribute to fewer mothers have to suffer the loss of a child, for reasons of road accidents, given that even 21 April have died on the roads of mainland Portugal 137 children, It should be added more 29 German nationality, who died victims of a road accident with a bus on the island of Madeira, on 17 April and that are not accounted for in official statistics National Road Safety Authority (Mor).

Not as important as life, but also very important for any mother, is education and behavior that their children take in any situation, especially towards society, not getting any mother happy and satisfied with education fouls and bad behavior, that the Portuguese still take on the roads, while drivers of vehicles or pedestrians cars.

From my experience, as a user of roads and as a supervisory agent, I got to me, that the factors that contribute most to increase the risk of accident, They are the individual behavior of the driver and the behavior of other road users, It is one and the other influenced by social norms and the road legislation.

At this point, some readers may be to remind them to drive performance, Yes, you're right, because being different concepts, the behavior and performance, both influence driving. The first is that the DO driver and the second is that the CAN driver to, by that driver performance is related to the knowledge and skills to lead, and behavior is what the driver chooses to do with these skills.

For example, the likelihood and severity of an accident depends on the driver's reaction time, It is this a driver's performance competence. However, the results also depend on the speed at which the vehicle runs. Thus the capacity to assess the speed and control the vehicle at that speed are driver's performance aspects and the speed at which the vehicle is traveling is a driver behavior decision.

The distinction between performance and behavior is key to road safety, because the car driving is an individual task. In other words, drivers choose their own level of difficulty in performing the task of driving, can not contribute to a greater ability to increase security, it can be used to increase the speed, perform overtaking at or talk on the phone, these actions being decided by driver behavior.

Similarly, a driver with advanced driving knowledge, learned that the control skidding or emergency braking, may well use them to display these techniques for aggressive riding, increasing the risk of accident, should therefore drivers use all its powers to conduct, increasing their safety and that of others, with the notion that their skills diminish, particularly with increasing age.

However it seems obvious that increase the ability of drivers to drive reduce accident rates, and one should therefore focus on training of drivers, being accepted that drivers with higher skills, are safer drivers.

The problem is when the driver finds the best driver in the world, without having all the skills to lead, associated with this perception to misbehavior and lack of courtesy. I do not want this statement to define the typical Portuguese driver.

Said that, is easy to see that more training is needed for our drivers and the lack of courtesy and aggression have no place on our roads, can some bad behavior being punished by the Highway Code.

That is why, be courteous and respect others, It proves to be very important to avoid conflicts and accidents, that in most cases this is not a mere matter of courtesy, They are required by the Highway Code, as exemplified by the use of indicator lamps direction (turn signals), the right of way and honk for no reason, all behaviors that are violations of the highway code, but that are unused by the Portuguese drivers.

In addition to the above examples, the lack of courtesy is furthermore conducting glued to the rear of the vehicle ahead (tailgating), in the passing cyclists without meeting the safety distance, stop on the crosswalk at an intersection, etc.

When you're facing this type of behavior that reveal a lack of courtesy, this may be indicative of be facing an aggressive driver, and for this purpose, allow the overtaking vehicle that goes glued to your and you are in the left lane, move to the right lane, since you can do so safely (another rule that seems to be out of favor), keep your eyes on the road and the driver, does not react to provocation, notably by linking the maximum or through honks.

And if someone out of a vehicle in its direction, keep inside your, close the windows and lock the doors. And if not resolve dialog, do not answer, either verbally or with signs, even if the other driver start hitting the vehicle, take a deep breath and get out of this safety zone, leading calmly to a place where you can get help, in case of need, such as a Police Station GNR or PSP. Avoid going home, an aggressive driver because if the following, not want that person knows where you live.

However do not forget that an aggressive reaction can be caused by our bad behavior, often distraction or stress, can any of us run a less correct maneuver.

So we should not start driving act when we are tired, nervous, stressed or emotionally affected, such as after an argument or after receiving bad news, as, on your health.

Applications for smartphones can help to check the real-time traffic, helping to prepare and plan the trip, but always before you start driving and never during.

In conclusion is thus, to cooperate with other drivers, as, facilitating overtaking, making use of turn signals and give way, It means showing courtesy on the road, dealing with other road users with respect and tolerance, whether other drivers, pedestrians or cyclists, not forgetting to thank, raising a hand to someone who facilitated him a maneuver and making an apologetic gesture when making a mistake, and these behaviors will help prevent conflicts and reduce road accidents.

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