Whether it’s nipping down to the shops for some last-minute groceries or making the joyous morning commute to work, these days many of us drive almost everywhere we go. But while driving can be very convenient, could it be that by using our trusty mechanical steeds we are actually putting out health at risk?

Accidents

Learning to drive is a huge part of growing up and gaining your independence; however, there are lots of new things that you have to adapt to once you’ve passed your driving test.

Something like rush hour, for instance, is little more than a distraction to an experienced driver but to someone taking to the road on their own for the first time this extra traffic can drive them to distraction. Worrying statistics show that new drivers, particularly teenagers, are 50% more likely to be involved in an accident than other road users:

The majority of accidents on the road, whether involving new drivers or experienced drivers, are actually caused by human error rather than mechanical faults. This may seem worrying but it also indicates that a lot can be done to ensure that we’re not involved in a crash. Drivers of any age or experience would do well to follow simple, common sense rules such as not driving when tired, not using a mobile phone while operating a car and always going the appropriate speed for conditions.

Injuries

Certain aspects of our driving habits, such as the way in which we brake or the way in which we change gear, may be shaped by our driving instructors; however, other, more seemingly innocuous areas of our driving may not be monitored with quite such expert vigilance and can therefore suffer as a result.

One often overlooked aspect of driving is posture. If we want to stay in good shape behind the wheel then maintaining a correct posture is imperative. In the short term, bad posture can cause discomfort in the legs, back and bum. Over the long term, a consistently bad driving posture can lead to trapped nerves and chronic back pain. Here are a few techniques that you can use to help to adopt a good posture while driving – this article explains more.

Environmental considerations

Apart from our own health, the more we drive the more damage we can do to those around us, and the environment. The fumes that are emitted from a conventional petrol or diesel engine can be harmful to pedestrians and have even been linked to detrimental changes in the global climate. It is important to only jump in the car when absolutely necessary, such as for long distance trips. For short distances, meanwhile, walking or cycling are far more environmentally friendly forms of transport and can also help to keep you fit.

Although it is clear that driving has its hazards, many road users make it through their entire lives without having been involved in a scrape. As long as you remain careful, comfortable and considerate behind the wheel, you should too.

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2 Comments

  1. Tom Williams says:

    PM 2.5s from engines and brake pads etc have been classified as Carcinogenic by the WHO.
    Kids from poorer backgrounds are 5 times more likely to be involved in a collision with a car than the richest children.
    Speed is the single biggest factor when it comes to reducing collisions and it’s often exacerbated by bad road engineering (such as larger splays at junctions, speed limits and on road car parking).
    Stress, noise pollution, fear, community exclusion, limited access to services, asthma, poverty, obesity, and heart disease can all be linked to car culture – as an organisation that promotes heath and social equality we need to be anti car.

  2. Aston_B says:

    I use to love driving and riding my vehicles till the day I met with an accident. It was that day when I realized that I was in love with a machine which has to be controlled by me. It isn’t a smart human being made up with feeling who will help you, your environment and your life. I realized that I am rather driving a monster who has the capacity to ruin everything around; so it has to be controlled. The other side of loving and using your vehicle is this realization. We have to be LOGICAL while taking commuting decisions. Thanks for sharing this concern.

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