Lewis says ‘Slow Down’!

It may sound as convincing as Vanessa Pheltz asking you to cut down your calorie-intake but the youngest driver in Formula One has a very palatable approach when it comes to addressing teenagers and their bad driving habits.

This month, former world champion Lewis Hamilton urged young drivers to follow his example when they get behind the wheel – by sticking to the speed limit and driving safely.

Hamilton, whose racetrack skills have earned him over £35 million, admitted that he used to speed on public roads but is now a reformed character. Hamilton said: “The speed limit is there for a reason and I think everyone should stick to it. I do. Everyone has made mistakes, even myself in my past. But you learn lessons from this. When you are more aware of the implications of your actions, you take more care.”

“When you are on a race circuit the target is to drive as fast as you possibly can, but away from the circuit you slip into your everyday life and on the roads it’s all about safety.”

He said that he understood the peer pressure on young people to drive fast because he had experienced such pressure.

“The message I would try and send out is take a step back and think before you act. You could easily make a mistake and lose your friend’s life or your own life. It’s about being sensible and making the right decisions. If you want to have fun, go to a go-kart circuit.

“On the roads it’s not just you out there – you have oncoming traffic, you have people crossing the road and you may have passengers.”

Supporting the ‘Make Roads Safe’ world-wide campaign, Hamilton hopes to help cut road deaths globally from 1.3 million last year to 900,000 by 2020. Although car sales remain relatively constant in the UK, developing countries are seeing massive growth in car sales and in turn the number of vehicle-related fatalities is growing fast with experts projecting deaths could reach 1.9 million a year by 2020.

The campaign, with it’s slogan of ‘Decade of Action’ is designed to persuade governments around the globe to invest more than £180 million in preventing road deaths in undeveloped countries. Road crashes are likely to become the leading cause of disability and premature death for children aged 5-14 by 2015, according to the World Health Organisation.

Carey Oppenheim, of the Institute for Public Policy Research, said: “We have a good record on road safety in the UK, but we know we must not be complacent. We must make a strong commitment to the decade of action.”

David Ward, director of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile Foundation, said that Britain must do more to share its knowledge and expertise with developing countries, where road deaths were increasing rapidly.

We at Safer Motorways commend Lewis Hamilton for taking on this pivotal role and help minimise the number of road fatalities around the world. Perhaps more influential figures like him are needed for public-speaking to help educate younger drivers and make roads world-wide a safer place to be.

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