The Slower You Drive, The Safer You Are

2014-12-03 06:51

 

An unfortunate video has gone viral in the South African social and news media circles over the past few days, showing a Cape Town man getting flung out of a speeding convertible as it violently crashed into a barrier wall. The man has apparently since died from the accident.

Fortunately, this was not one of those accidents which involved and affected other cars on the road. It has also become apparent that the person was not wearing a seat belt, which would have made all the difference and saved his life.

The issue here becomes the careless and insanely fast driving we witness from some motorists on our roads on a daily basis. Speed kills – and this is the message that has been getting drilled into our psyches by authorities, but some people surely can’t absorb and appreciate this.

The Speed Demon

Demons don’t exist in the literal sense of horrible looking creatures, but malicious and not so responsible spirits do exist, and they do reason and speak through their hosts, figuratively speaking. I have heard on several occasions people defending their dangerous speeding habits, even going as far as saying ‘God is my protector, I trust in him when I drive fast’.

I honestly find defending speeding through God highly offensive and blasphemous, since it insinuates that God approves and protects those who speed in his name. This speed demon is no different to the one which challenged the person of Jesus Christ in the Bible, daring Jesus to throw himself from a high building, saying the angels of God would catch him before he smashes to his death on the stony ground. Jesus, as usual, was on point with his reply: ‘You shall not test the Lord your God’.

South Africa has one of the highest road deaths statistics in the world, which is both worrying and embarrassing. On average, road fatalities happen to 31 people per 100 000, while the world average is 18/100 000. Basically this means we either have bad roads, or bad cars, or are just bad drivers. It could also be a combination of these factors, regrettably.

Bloody Holidays

On average, between 13 000 and 14 000 people lose their lives on our roads annually, which amounts to about 1170 deaths per month. This amount usually increases during both Easter and December holidays, when much travelling takes place. The death toll for last December was around 1300, which somehow turns our festive season into some festival of blood unfortunately.

Factors which greatly contribute to this high carnage figure are among others negligent driving. This includes speeding, driving under the influence of drugs, and driving under fatigue. Other lesser factors may be faulty vehicles and unsuitable driving conditions like fogs, potholes, stray animals, etc.

But the basic common factor in all fatal accidents is speed. If for example, a head on collision happens with both motor vehicles travelling at 60 KPH, the rate of injury or fatality is significantly reduced. But if the same collision happens with both vehicles travelling at 140 KPH, the results will most definitely be disastrous. My Physics may not be up to scratch, but I figure the impact of a head on collision involving cars travelling each at 100 KPH is equivalent to that of smashing into a still wall at 200 KPH, which could be quite devastating.

Three Major Aspects

As I said earlier, the three important aspects in road disasters are the driver, the vehicle and the road.

The driver is the greatest contributor based on the speed at which he chooses to drive, for whatever reason. As it is, we should recognize and acknowledge that cars are unbelievably fast, and we as people have acclimatized to a lifestyle that moves at the ungodly average of about 100 KPH, for both economic and social purposes. This is considerably fast, taking into account that the common sprinting speed of a man is around 25 KPH.

The second aspect is the motor vehicle itself, which is a dangerously fast motor that is nevertheless enclosed by a very fragile tin and metal structure. Logically, the speed of a car should be proportional to its safety, but manufacturers have obviously disregarded this unanimously. Today’s cars are scientifically a ‘work in progress’ which uses human beings as guinea-pigs for their ongoing experiment.

It is rather sad to realize that in the modern context, technology takes precedence over human lives, as with aeroplanes and other scientific inventions. It’s even worse when the same manufacturers make so-called sports cars, and they stamp their metallic motor capsules with misleading labels like ‘Turbo’, ‘Sport’, ‘24V’, etc. The cars are often advertised swooshing past like bullets and elegantly maneuvering around sharp bends, but they never show you the reality of the same car smashed beyond recognition to a tiny wreck, with Jaws of Life needed to extract minced bodies from thence.

Also to consider lastly is the way some of our roads have been designed, where two vehicles travelling at jet speeds in opposite directions are spaced only about 1,5 metres apart, leaving no room for error whatsoever. This may also contribute to accidents as it creates a tense driving environment, where every journey is like a dice with fate, and you sigh of relief at reaching your destination safe each time.

But the point here is SPEED, which makes all the difference. One can never tell when and where the next accident is going to happen, but one thing is for sure – The slower you drive, the safer you are. Enjoy your holidays and let’s hope for a reduced number of fatalities this festive season. ©

(Visit And Follow My Blog on Twitter: @JustSmartRage)

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