Sharing The Road

The Christmas / New Year period has come and gone as 2013 rolls forward without hesitation. Unfortunately for too many they didn’t see the New Year in, with fifty deaths on the nations roads over the same period.

It’s something very close to my own heart this year after my girlfriend, Joanna, nearly lost her own life after leaving the road, possibly due to a blown steer tyre, and rolling seven times. We’re the lucky ones, a couple of weeks in hospital and a few broken bones is a much nicer option that what could have been.

The statistics for fatal accidents on our roads continue to improve despite an ever increasing amount of traffic and well they should. The technology in modern vehicles continues to improve and make up for the shortcomings of the average driver. Traction control, anti-lock brakes, doplar radar and more whoopy cushions than you can point a gear stick at all help reduce the impact.

Unfortunately you can’t counter stupidity despite the best efforts of the road safety authorities and manufactures.

My observation is that on the whole, drivers are going a lot slower although this is as much the fault of speedo inaccuracy as it is a conscious decision by drivers, most of them looking up incredulously as a B-Double cruises by doing the legal speed but you can see they’re thinking we’re speeding. Slow I can cope with, it’s the ones that speed up when the road widens to two or three lanes that shit me to tears as they slow down again when the road narrows and you’re still stuck behind them.

Another issue I see is learner drivers on the road over the Christmas break. This is not a good learning environment. Increased traffic with impatient and unskilled drivers hell bent on reaching their destination, drive too aggressively to be stuck behind a learner forced to travel at 80kph. If it’s a double demerit period lets get the learners where it’s safe, in the passenger seat, mum and dad are going to struggle to stay alive without giving junior the reins.

Caravans… I lost count of how many I saw parked up with failed wheel bearings. This I believe is a direct result of having no annual inspection requirements for light trailers combined with owners who have no mechanical aptitude. Wheel bearing inspection on such a vehicle is a piece of cake but their obviously not preparing adequately for their annual migration. At a time in their lives when most drivers have held their licence uncontested for forty or fifty years why shouldn’t another test be in order to tow a van? Some of these things are huge and you can tell at a glance the ones that have their load poorly distributed or are badly setup in the first place.

Lastly, there’s the truck drivers, the vast majority of whom appear to be doing the right thing but I still see the odd one who gets a bit hot under the collar and attempts some reeducation by tailgating. Come on guys, not only are we meant to be the professionals out here, we’re fully aware of the consequences. Do you really want to pull a family worth of corpses out from under your steer axle just because you couldn’t keep your shit in one sock?

Take it easy out there and we’ll all make it home.