The Toll Mounts

The year neared its end with good news that the road toll was smaller than it had been for many years, then, sadly the holiday period happened and we were confronted with daily reports of another death, or deaths on our roads finally reaching an awful 18 before the official ‘holiday’ period ended and we greeted the New Year (3 road deaths [1 pedestrian] already in 2112.).

I don’t care who the drivers are, how old or young they are, in almost every case these ‘accidents’ could have been avoided. It may well be the dead was not to blame but was an innocent victim in another car or a powerless passenger in the car at fault, but the behaviour of the driver of the car that CAUSED the crash could probably have avoided it by modifying how he/she drove.

In many cases speed was an obvious factor. Remember it is much better to arrive at your destination late than to not arrive early. Most drivers on our roads today are in control of cars that are capable of high speeds but are not sufficiently skilled in being able to handle a vehicle that gets into difficulty at those speeds. Lesson? Slow down and drive within your ACTUAL capabilities, not those you naively think you have or your mates encourage you to strive for.

Alcohol is too often also found to be a factor and anybody who drives while alcoholically impaired deserves all they get, but others do not deserve to be put in peril by their selfishness. Know the legal limits and stay within them.

Bad driving and poor decision making can be seen every day on our roads. It is not uncommon to personally witness ‘near-misses’ that are the result of ignorance, inattention and simply lack of judgement or skills. Everybody has the right to use our nations highways but none have the right to make those highways shooting galleries using live ammunition.

Our young people are participants in a growing ‘car culture’ and while I have no issue with young people driving it is the competitive aspect of that culture that is potentially lehtal and our young drivers need to develop greater independence of thought and the strength of character to say to their mates, “No!” No to excess speed, no to competitions on wheels, no to showing off, no to thinking “it won’t happen to me”.

A growing influence in the on-road carnage is technology and the reliance that people seem to have bought into in a huge manner. It used be that we could undertake a journey of many hours and not be concerned we are out of contact. No-one will convince me that anything is so important that it will not wait, or that everyone is so indispensable that they cannot be out of contact for the period of a journey. And if you have ‘on-board’ gadgets that can be a distraction, and you are a person who cannot ignore them, turn them off!

I am not as white as the driven snow but the advancing years have me reflecting that the waste and misery that is caused by all of the factors I’ve outlined here, are so easily avoidable they must become a cause that EVERYBODY must buy into.

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