Why are there so many serious crashes in NZ?

For many years you have been given the standard road safety messages - Don’t drink and drive, don’t speed, wear your safety belt then you should be ok on the road.

Well, now recent New Zealand research and research done in Sweden in the late 1990’s highlighted the fact that this is not necessarily the whole truth.

Yes, these messages are still valid but the part that is not entirely true is that you should be ok.

More people are killed on our roads by just using the road network normally. Nearly three quarters of the serious injury crashes are due to drivers driving normally.

Contrary to what many people believe, most of our roads evolved from being horse tracks, to horse drawn coach tracks, to become wider unsealed roads and finally sealed roads.

In many cases, none of the road side hazards, (the objects drivers crash into that cause serious injury or death), had been removed. These hazards include trees, poles, ditches, embankments, water canals, and so on.

The common attitude is that as long as you manage to stay on the roadway you’ll be right. But what about situations out of the driver’s control, like swerving out for an obstacle on the road, avoiding a head on crash, grit or slippery substances on bends?

The scenario mentioned in the previous paragraph is not fiction, the weekly crash reports verify that statement.

Internationally, experts now acknowledge the fact that people are likely to make driving mistakes (mostly unintentionally). The goal is to work towards a transport system that minimises the likelihood of seriously injury or death.

Always be vigilant, less trusting and keep your knowledge of road rules current by visiting our website – www.scrs.org.nz

Daniel Naudé

Road Safety Coordinator