Reading the story below and others like it about car accidents and deaths caused by speeding really sends a chill down my spine because I know that I used to drive too fast sometimes and in a way that I wouldn’t drive now.
Four teenagers killed in a fiery smash on the West Gate Freeway on Sunday night were returning from a memorial service for a mate who died after being pulled unconscious from the surf at Blairgowrie last week.
The tragic twist came to light as police said the horrific accident might have been caused by two cars racing each other at speeds of up to 160 km/h.
The white Holden sedan with the four youths in it clipped a barrier and skidded across four lanes before smashing rear-end first into a tree and bursting into flames.
Who knows what had transpired inside the car amongst the teenagers? Was the driver egged on by his friends? Or was he reckless despite their caution? The tragedy is that four people have needlessly died from it. And the bitter twist is that they had just come from a friend’s funeral. That is too ironic.
In the first two years that I got my license, I have driven stupidly on many occasions. Though it must be said that I don’t drive reckless or speed if I have passengers. Fair enough if I wanted to risk my life but I wasn’t going to take others down with me. And thankfully my first car wasn’t all that powerful or speedy. I’m scared to even think what would have been otherwise.
The more stories like these that I see on the news, the more I understand how my parents must have felt letting me loose on the road. I get why they would call me past their bedtimes whilst I was out clubbing, or wait up at the door. They don’t do it anymore now that I have taken it all in and know to be sensible on the road.
As for other drivers being dangerous or reckless, there are a few things that I now do out of habit:
- Do not change lanes around intersections.
- Check for cars from the far opposite lane changing into the lane that I want to change to.
- Even if it’s my right of way, or the traffic light shows green, check for opposing traffic. This is especially important at night when there would be more drunk drivers on the road.
- Do not change lanes in front of a heavy vehicle.
- Avoid driving on country roads at night.
- Sleep in my car in the car park if I have to – being drunk or tired at night with other drunk and tired drivers on the road is pushing my luck. My health and life is more important than the extra money that I have to pay for parking. You will want to be alert when there is the possibility of a car going the wrong way, which can happen even if it’s the freeway.
- Expect other drivers to be crap, expect them to not signal, and expect them to shoot out from an intersection when they can see you coming. Basically, anticipate bad and dangerous driving.
It is a crapshot every time we take our cars onto the road but by doing the things that are within our control, we cut down the possibility of an accident greatly. And even if you don’t care about your own personal safety that much, surely you’d care for your loved ones travelling with you?