Collisions don’t happen by accident
Please do not try and read this while operating a motor vehicle. Stranger things have been attempted.
In the course of a seven-day period ( Aug. 10-16) Trinity Conception District RCMP responded to no less than 16 motor vehicle collisions.
While most of them were fender benders, at least two highway collisions resulted in serious but nonlife-threatening injuries.
In one case, where a car went out of control and left Veterans Memorial Highway, a local fire chief told The Compass, the tires on the vehicle were “as bare as a baby’s bum.”
Indeed, bald tires and other defective equipment on vehicles could be blamed for some accidents.
Then there is inclement weather, such as rain, drizzle and fog, and road conditions, including ice, snow and those infamous ruts in pavement. When filled with water, they can cause vehicles to hydroplane out of control.
Now it’s easy to point the finger of blame at these and other factors as the cause of motor vehicle collisions. But, in the end, they are all lame excuses for the real cause of collisions that are preventable and avoidable.
The RCMP and other seasoned law enforcement agencies will tell you, “ weather and road conditions do not cause collisions. It is the driver’s responsibility to adjust their driving habits to those conditions.”
That’s among some of the sound advice Const. John Clarke offers motorists in his police report in the B section of this week’s issue.
Warning drivers to “always reduce speed in adverse weather, and always be aware of other vehicles and pedestrians before moving your vehicle,” the Community Policing Officer suggests: “ These two simple things will help you avoid being involved in a collision.”
Sounds like common sense! enough!
But how many of us heed and practice the art of logic while driving our highways?
As far as drivers heeding such sound advice, the chance of them actually putting it into practice would be laughable if it weren’t so serious, and the consequences of ignoring it so fatal.
When the fog is so thick you can’t see 50 feet beyond the bumper, some drivers barrel on through, as if the sun was shining to melt the asphalt and they could see for miles - totally oblivious to other traffic (transport trucks) and those ubiquitous moose, who are equally oblivious to where they are.
And anyone who drives the TCH or any other highway can tell you that, even if you are clipping along at 110 or 120 clicks, other drivers will pass you as though you were parked.
Drivers who go 130 kph only make it to their destinations a mere few minutes ahead of those who keep the speed limit. Yet they routinely risk their own lives, and the lives of their passengers and other people on the highway for the sake of those measly few minutes.
When it comes to speed, it seems all the automotive engineers in the world couldn’t design a motor vehicle that could go fast enough for some drivers.
And no highway engineer could ever design a highway on which such vehicles could be operated safely at such speeds.
If drivers like speed that much, perhaps it’s not a highway they need at all. Perhaps it’s a runway! Maybe it’s not a driver’s licence they need. Maybe it’s a pilot’s licence. And a vehicle with wings, if they are in that much of a hurry to get wherever it is they are headed.
While speed, impaired drivers, defective equipment and road and weather conditions may all contribute to collisions, the RCMP reminds us this week that, “ most motor vehicle collisions are avoidable and are caused by inattentive driving.”
Speed and not paying full attention while driving make for a deadly combination.
Perhaps they are endemic of our society in the new millennium - a society that wants to do everything. The big difference is we want to do it all at the same time. We don’t have time to give undivided attention to driving, when there are so many other things we could be doing while driving.
Unlike our mothers and fathers, we are not content to do one thing at a time anymore. No, because there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do what we want to do, we have to multitask.
We want to drink, eat, smoke, yack on our cell phones, check our e-mail, text, tweet, watch TV, play video games, read, check our lotto tickets, play with our pets, shave, put on lipstick and God knows what else - all while driving a ton of metal, plastic and glass 100 clicks and more along a highway. It’s a wonder we have even one hand free for the steering wheel!
Is it really too much to ask of drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road? Or has the act of driving actually become a distraction to all the other things we want to do simultaneously?
It takes hundreds of bolts and nuts to hold a motor vehicle together, but only one to tear it apart.
Sounds logical - Bill Bowman The Compass