Someone, not me, once said words to the effect of, ‘It isn’t ice or fog or snow or rain that causes car accidents, it is drivers’. Very true. I’m reminded of this by the tragic multi-car pile-up on the A40 at Oxford. Generally, we will never know the actual circumstances but at least one fool was clearly driving too fast for the conditions and roped innocent people into his or her death wish. Once again road safety is a hot topic.
The road was icy and the fog dense, like the driver in question. Almost since the beginning of time official state road safety films, motoring organisations and related commentators been warning about this yet still – still – it falls on deaf ears. It sounds as if 20mph might have been too fast yet once again a traffic tragedy strikes.
It is hard to explain but I’ll suggest this (not for the first time): complacency. Drivers have become use to increasingly safe vehicle features that they have lost sight of what driving means and requires. Until such time as cars can foretell the immediate future no amount of automotive kit, however effective under normal road use, can save you at the last second as a wreck-strewn road suddenly looms out of the fog.
Some people – a lot of people – never seem to learn. This very morning as I write this it is very cold and the cars outside are frosted to the max. Several of my neighbours still came out and started their vehicles ‘to warm it up’. Aside from the fact that an enterprising car thief will never look a gift horse in the mouth when a motor is left unattended, the fact is idling a car does no good at all.
Why it is no good for your car should by now be common knowledge (although apparently it seems not) so rather than type the full lecture I’ll just say that it wastes expensive fuel and adds extra pollution to the atmosphere. We haven’t warmed our cars since since the days of carburettors. Why have we forgotten this stuff?
Right, I’m on one now. Why, when we know it is dangerous and illegal, do we still use ‘phones and devices when driving? Do the swivel-eyed nutters who do this think they are immune from death?
Why do people not look properly at junctions and other traffic control devices? How many times have you approached a junction with a car sitting in it and watch the driver slowly cogitate the matter before finally deciding to pull out when your oncoming vehicle is almost upon them?
The standard of driving in this country is dreadful; there’s no other word for it. For every good, responsible motorist there is a complacent numpty.
Everywhere there is a motoring tragedy there will subsequently be a group of bereaved people at the roadside next to sad home-made memorials to another needless death.
I know a million and one commentators are saying the same thing but surely in 2017 we can do better. Much better. Preach road safety to your friends and neighbours and then practise what you preach.
Have a happy and safe New Year.