Most of the team here at Carrot Insurance love cars. I, for one, have been mad about them since I was a kid. Despite getting a buzz from driving for several reasons I have to admit, though, that Brake, the charity behind the annual Road Safety Week, has a point. We all probably should ‘drive less, live more’, which is the slogan for this year’s campaign.
Brake’s introductory words are mainly angled at adults, harking back to the days when people apparently used to skip “happily to school without a care in the world” and cycle “to the park with friends, laughing and chatting, without noisy traffic speeding past”. For all us younger ones, concepts like these do seem like “scenes from an old TV programme”. Mary Poppins springs to mind. Brake accurately describes modern life for most of us as stepping out of our front doors, walking a few paces to our cars and then driving distances that are often crazily short, like to the convenience store or takeaway around the corner. I’m the first to put my hands up to having become lazier in my driving habits during the last year, as life’s been so busy. Besides, nobody wants their takeaway getting cold.
There’s no mention of rain, hectic schedules or pathetic public transport, but the charity is right in saying that “those of us who walk or cycle usually have to brave busy, noisy streets, full of pollution, fast traffic and risky drivers”. With a staggering 40% of car journeys lasting less than two miles, 27% of people walking less than they did twenty years ago, almost half of English households struggling to afford car ownership and a quarter of adults being obese, it sure sounds like a healthier approach is needed.
A staggering 12,000 people die every year in England because of road traffic pollution and in 2013, 1,770 people were killed on the roads, mainly because of driver error, statistics like these really hammering home the reality that fewer vehicles on the road will make our world safer as well as healthier and greener.
What does Brake suggest, then? Kicking off with Road Safety Week 2015, which runs from November 23rd to 29th, the charity wants each one of us to think carefully whether we need to use our cars for certain journeys. Ditching our cars for unnecessary trips will help us burn calories, save money, make our streets quieter and reduce pollution. Employers are encouraged to set up car-sharing schemes and even car-free days, parents are urged to think about walking their child(ren) to school if it’s located less than 1.5 miles away, and communities and transport companies are being given a nudge to devise ways to make it easier for residents to move around in a healthier, environmentally friendlier, cheaper and more convenient way.
Of course, our business is all about car insurance for young drivers and those with a bit more experience who also want to earn fantastic cash rewards* by driving safely. We still love driving and want you all to continue enjoying the freedom motoring brings you but we still care about the environment and our customers’ health, though. Reducing the number of short, unnecessary journeys you make in your car can actually help it last longer, too. Few cars enjoy short journeys – especially not diesels.
Come on, tell us what you think. Reckon you might be able to cut out a few of the journeys you typically make, or does your location mean you don’t have any other choice? Share your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook with us and let’s get a conversation going.
* Only applicable to customers who started their policies before 5th October 2017