2019 Road Safety Observatory: which behaviors are most at risk on the motorway?

The A4 Holding Road Safety Observatory is a new project launched for the first time this year and consists of a survey carried out on the A4 Brescia Padova and A31 Valdastico motorways with the aim of closely studying the dangerous behaviors of drivers of both light and heavy vehicles and to monitor the results over time, giving rise to targeted campaigns, starting from objective indicators in order to improve safety on the road.

Inappropriate driving behavior is in fact the greatest danger to road safety: telephone at the ear, foot on the accelerator and misuse of the lanes are just some of the vices of Italians behind the wheel, monitored during the search by fixed detection stations on a sample of 1 million and 450 transits and from mobile stations on over 1000 vehicles.

The survey highlighted an alarming fact: 12% of drivers monitored while driving improperly use their mobile phones. Taking into consideration the type of vehicle, 10% of drivers of cars driving using their mobile phones and 14% of drivers of heavy goods vehicles have the same "vice". In 2019 the "distraction" factor, which includes the use of mobile phones at the wheel, remains the first cause of an accident.

Among the other main causes of incidendality we find then the excess of speed. In this case our survey showed that the average speed of light vehicles is 112 km/h (the limit is 130 km/h, which drops to 110 in bad weather). Fortunately, it is in the media a correct behavior to which however we must compare 16% of drivers of light vehicles with a speed exceeding 130 km/h. Quite a different thing instead the data concerning heavy vehicles that even in 85% of cases exceeds 80 km/h (allowed limit).

Another important factor in terms of safety on the motorway is the failure to respect the safety distance: 30% of light vehicles and 6% of heavy ones travel at a distance from the vehicle that precedes it less than 2 seconds (2'' are considered the minimum time necessary to react and avoid an obstacle). This failure is the cause of an accident on extraurban roads in 14.6% of cases. This behavior is very risky because in case of unexpected events it is almost impossible to avoid the accident.

The study then analyzed the use of the lanes. How many people on the motorway apply the rule of traveling on the rightmost free lane? Not enough unfortunately ... 49% of drivers in fact travel in the middle lane despite having the right lane free. Similarly, 28% travel on what is commonly called the overtaking lane. It is mistakenly believed that the right lane on the motorway is dedicated to slow vehicles. This behavior forces some vehicles to overtake on the right and face additional risks.

If we consider instead the use of turn signals for the lane change, it is 67% of the total vehicles not to use them correctly to overtake, while it is 74% not to use the turn signlas in the manoeuvre of return.

Last, but not least, is data relating to the use of seat belts. While the obligation to use is now internalized among drivers and front passengers, it emerges that 58% of passengers sitting in the rear seats do not have the habit of using it. This probably happens because the perception of the risk is not assimilated and the there is no awareness of the progressive increase of the weight with the increase of the speed. At 50 km/h the weight increases by 40 times!

A simple distraction or a little recklessness can have dramatic consequences behind the wheel. Spread the message! Share the observatory data on the social media channels with the hashtag #usalatesta to promote an informed and safe driving style.