According to the results of research conducted by the Mona GeoInformatics Institute, more than 80 percent of crashes attributed to factors other than driver behaviour are related to skidding. This occurs in circumstances where speeding is not necessarily a factor and where road surface materials may contribute to water runoff or retention.
Duane Ellis, General Manager of the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) said a critical consideration is that drivers should always maintain a safe speed “especially when approaching unfamiliar roads or roadways that have posted signs indicating that they may be slippery, when wet.”
He said it is important that drivers remain calm and respond effectively in an emergency, to prevent serious injury or damage to their vehicles and personal injury.
“Driving at a moderate pace can help to prevent skidding,” Mr. Ellis explained. He said that, “A good way to come out of a skid, if one develops, is to turn your steering gently in the direction of the skid.”
It was found that nearly 11% of ‘Road Factor’ crashes were related to potholes. With more than 13,100 kilometres of paved roadway across Jamaica, many motorists have to contend with roads pockmarked with potholes, on a daily basis.
“These potholes are hazards to motorists, because of the damage they cause to vehicles, as well as the danger faced when trying to avoid them,” he said. “Some drivers leave their lanes entirely, as they attempt to skirt potholes, putting other motorists and pedestrians at risk.”
“A reduction in speed is the best way to deal with this road hazards, in any weather, but even more so during rain, as water covered craters can be far more dangerous,” Mr. Ellis emphasised.
The Mona GeoInformatics findings, which emerged from the Institute’s mapping of some 72,000 road crashes in Jamaica, between 2000 and 2010, also revealed that road construction may also have a role to play in these types of crashes. And, other road hazards that drivers often encounter include obstructions that are design related.
“In all of these circumstances, drivers must remain calm; and, where applicable, respond to the guidance of flagmen or the police,” Mr. Ellis advised.