A recent study suggests that reducing the number of short trips people take by car could reduce the number of crashes.
The research found that trips lasting between 30 and 40 minutes were 1.2 times more likely to result in a crash than those lasting less than 10 minutes. Journeys over 40 minutes were 1.9 times more likely.
However, only 13% of car trips were over the half-hour mark. 43% were less than 10 minutes long. Longer trips are more dangerous per se. Yet, it is harder to dissuade people from these journeys. It is simpler to encourage people to walk or cycle the sub-10-minute trips.
Traveling a short distance by car is not as quick as you might think
When you add up the total time a 10-minute drive takes, you may find it is quicker to go by foot or bicycle. Think about a short trip to the grocery store.
You walk to your car and start the engine. If it has been cold overnight, you need to defrost or demist your windows. If you keep your vehicle in a garage, you need to open and shut the garage door.
Once sat in your car, you put on your seat belt. If you have the kids with you, you need added time to strap them in. You decide you want music, so turn on the radio and search for a channel or connect your phone and search for a track.
When you arrive at the store, you need to find a parking space and maneuver into it. If you are with your children, you need to let them out too. Coming back, you repeat the whole process. There is nothing quick about it.
One of the problems with “quick” trips is that drivers do many of the things they should do before setting off once they are moving in order to save time. They may be driving along, fiddling with the radio, or their kid’s car seat, all while peering through a partially misted screen. All these could lead to a car crash and could be avoided by walking or cycling instead.