DYNAMIQ IN THE NEWS: INTERNATIONAL ROADS: THE OVERLOOKED THREAT

By Dynamiq founder Anthony Moorhouse.

Before starting at Dynamiq I spent a year in Iraq, where road travel was particularly hazardous. People would often travel at very high speeds to avoid getting caught in an ambush. They would also travel without wearing a seatbelt, so they could get out of the vehicle quickly if caught in an attack.

Yet in my time there, I had to deal with more medical evacuations due to vehicle accidents than ambushes. High speeds + no seatbelts = bad accidents. This taught me an important lesson; even in the most dangerous places, car accidents were still one of the biggest threats to personal safety.

The World Health Organisation recently published statistics on road traffic deaths by country. It is estimated that 1.25 million people a year die in traffic accidents and more than 50 million are injured. That makes traffic accidents a bigger global killer than malaria or tuberculosis.

The world average is 17.3 traffic deaths per 100,000 people. Unsurprisingly, developing countries fare the worst due to unsafe roads and poor driver training. Africa averages 26.9 deaths per 100,000 people. This statistic is even worse than it seems, given that Africa has 10 times fewer cars per person than in Europe, where there are 9.3 deaths per 100,000. The global road toll is not falling. Urbanisation and the increasing number of vehicles in the developing world continue to cancel out falling fatality rates in the developed world.

Given the increased coverage of terrorism and violent crime around the world, it is easy to forget the issue of vehicle accidents. Every year, Dynamiq conducts over 3,000 emergency cases around the world. Whilst some of these are terrorism and violent crime related, a significantly higher number are due to vehicle accidents.

In order to have a safe and effective travelling experience, consider implementing the following:

1. Demand the same safety standards of vehicles abroad as at home (you wouldn’t get in a taxi without a seat beat at home, so don’t do it abroad).

2. Ensure you have the right driving skills for the conditions. Be honest with yourself. If you aren’t an experienced off road driver. Don’t drive on muddy, poor quality roads.

3. Drive defensively. This should be true at home also, but at home, the vast majority of people obey the road rules and there are fewer unforeseen obstacles.

4. Use a professional driver who knows the roads and habits of other road users. Drivers from quality hotels usually have the most experience and safest vehicles.

5. If travelling as a passenger, consider sitting in the back seat. The front passenger seat has the highest probability of injury or death, as the driver is more likely to turn away from the area of impact.

6. Know what to do in an emergency. Know the local emergency services number (if it is reliable). Ensure you have 24/7 roadside assistance from a reputable company, and have your travel assistance number handy at all times. If you are travelling in remote locations with poor mobile phone coverage, consider taking a satellite phone or vehicle tracking device with a duress function.

For more information on road safety or travel safety in general, contact Adam Worsley at Adam.Worsley@dynamiqglobal.com.

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