#Article (Archive)

Road accidents

Jun 3, 2010, 1:04 PM

The dictionary defines an accident as "an unexpected and undesirable event, a mishap unforeseen and without apparent cause." Strictly speaking, most accidents are not accidents at all: they are collisions that could and should have been avoided.
Humans tend to blame somebody or something else when a mistake or accident occurs. Surveys consistently reveal that the majority consider themselves more skillful and safer than the average driver.
Some mistakes occur when a driver becomes distracted, perhaps by a cell phone call. Very few accidents result from an 'Act of God,' like a tree falling on a vehicle.
The faster the speed of a vehicle, the greater the risk of an accident. The forces experienced by the human body in a collision increase exponentially as the speed increases.
Smart motorists recommend that drivers observe our 3 seconds rule in everyday traffic, regardless of the speed. Most people agreed that going 100 mph is foolhardy and often lead to disaster.
The problem is that exceeding the speed limit by only 5 mph in the wrong place can be just as dangerous. Traffic engineers and local governments have determined the maximum speeds allowable for safe travel on the nation's roadways.
Speeding is a deliberate and calculated behaviour where the driver knows the risk, but ignores the danger. Fully 90% of all licenced drivers speed at some point in their driving career.
A pedestrian walks out in front of a car. If the car is traveling at just 30 mph, and the driver brakes when the pedestrian is 45 feet away, there will be enough space in which to stop without hitting the pedestrian. Just increase the vehicle speed by just 5 mph and the situation changes dramatically.
At 35 mph, with the pedestrian 45 feet away and the driver braking at the same point, the car will be traveling at 18 mph when it hits the pedestrian. An impact at 18 mph can seriously injure or even kill the pedestrian. As described modern cars are manufactured to very safe standards, and the environment they're driven in is engineered to minimise the injuries suffered during an accident.
The most difficult area to change is aggressive driver behaviour and selfish attitudes. Consequently, both drivers and passengers should all be on the alert to avoid unnecessary accidents on our roads.