Cyprus Mail
Letters Opinion

Visiting Cyprus by car: be sure you are not driving a “ticking time bomb”

Visiting Cyprus by car is a marvellous experience. Cyprus offers beautiful landscapes over the sea from Cavo-Greco to Paphos, and amazing mountain views through the Troodos highland. You can also enjoy the cities, villages and a lot of historical sites, museums and vestiges which make part of Cyrus’s European historical background and civilization.

Visiting all these places by car is a great idea. Travelling by car gives you plenty of opportunities to decide where to stop, what to visit and how to enjoy all these sites at your pace and convenience.

But, are you sure that you are travelling safely?

If you bring with you your family, may be your children, if they are younger than 8 years, are you sure that they are travelling in safe conditions within your car? Have you ensured them an adequate child seat to set their seat belt well positioned over their little shoulder?: not too high to threaten their neck but not too low to cancel the seat belt retaining function in case of an accident. Have you ever thought to ensure that they are just wearing their seat belts?

If you travel with Grand Mother and Grand Father, have you ensured that both are wearing correctly their safety belts? Old people are more fragile, you have to ensure their maximum safety when travelling by car. Old people are often uneasy with seat belts and try to avoid its contact and pressure on their tired bodies. They may want just to pass their safety belt shoulder strap behind their back or under their arm. This instinctive behaviour can turn to be fatal. Be sure that their seat belts are well buckled and that the shoulder laps are well over their shoulders.

Have you ensured that Grandma or Granddad travelling on the seats behind are wearing correctly their safety belt?  A 70 kg person not wearing its seat belt on the rear seat becomes a missile in case of a crash; a missile equivalent to a mass of several tons moving at high speed freely within your car. Imaging for instance in case of a front collision, even at relative low speed (e.g. 50 km/h), the damages that such a missile can do. This person can injure himself fatally but, what is even worst, he can be also fatal for the person travelling in front of him (even if that person has its seat belt correctly on).

If you don’t take care of all the issues above, you are probably driving a “ticking time bomb” that may have disastrous consequences at any time. Unfortunately, more than 1500 traffic accidents happen in Cyprus every year and about 60 involve fatal casualties. An unsafe configuration of the car’s safety devices can turn in a family tragedy, that can be yours if you are involved in an accident; and accidents happen unfortunately. You or the driver of another car can make an unfortunate mistake at a certain moment. Even well experienced drivers, even careful and prudent drivers (e.g. like you can consider yourself) can, at a certain moment, without any intention, make a mistake and provoke an accident. Then, the actual configuration of the different safety devices of your car can make the difference and be one of the major keys to establish the consequences of the accident. Moreover, driving a correctly insured car with a valid driven licence is of paramount importance too, in case the worst happen.

So, take into account the points above before driving a car in this beautiful country. Follow the traffic law which is there to ensure you a nice and safe travelling: check your car insurance, check the validity of your driving licence, ask your garage to verify that the safety devices of your car are operational and correctly adjusted (i.e. airbags, seat belts, child seats), ensure that your children under height are seated in appropriate child seats and with their seat belt correctly adjusted, ensure and ask your passengers to wear correctly the safety belts. According with the traffic law, all these checks are the responsibility of the driver and of the adults travelling in the car.

Now, drive carefully, go and enjoy visiting all those wonderful sites and places of this unique island which is Cyprus, knowing that you have done all you can to ensure a safe driving and a happy end to your trip.

Julio Monreal, via email

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