Staying Safe and Not Driving Recklessly

December 11, 2007 8:10 PM

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.

Crash teens had just farewelled dead mate – National –

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:

  1. Do not change lanes around intersections.
  2. Check for cars from the far opposite lane changing into the lane that I want to change to.
  3. 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.
  4. Do not change lanes in front of a heavy vehicle.
  5. Avoid driving on country roads at night.
  6. 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.
  7. 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?

13 thoughts on “Staying Safe and Not Driving Recklessly

  1. blur ting

    Thanks for the reminder. While we try to be very careful,other drivers may not do the same. So I always check for opposing traffic even if it’s my right of way, or the traffic light shows green in case drivers in the opposite direction decide to beat the red light.

  2. Papa

    Many years ago, when I was a pup still wet behind the ears, there was a girl I liked in high school, but she already had a boyfriend that was 2 years her senior, and one saturday night, on a road behind the school, they were both drunk when he crashed into a large oak tree. This girl I liked was in the passenger seat and died from the impact. Her boyfriend lived. I remember when I first heard the news how angry I was and how I wished she had lived and he had croaked and been sent to hell. A day later I realized even though he was alive each day was hell knowing he killed his girlfriend.

    Dang it Mooi, it’s the frikkin’ Christmas season, got anything lighter to post about, like some blonde pictures?

  3. girlstar7

    The most common way for young people under 25 to die is in a car accident. Although nobody close to me has died this way (touch wood) I often hear stories about friends of friends or acquaintances that have been killed in an accident. Usually they are still in their teens. It is sad that a life has to be cut so short just because of some reckless driving.
    Another point you didn’t mention is the point of driving whilst drunk. I know numerous guys that will regularly get very drunk and still drive home, claiming, ‘but I know these roads well.’ When people are drunk they think they are invincible, but they don’t realise just how much their coordination skills have been lowered, despite knowing the streets well.
    I know I have got into the car with people I shouldn’t have, and I thank god that I am still here.
    Drive safely over Christmas, people, because that’s when the most accidents and mortalities occur on the roads.

  4. Katie

    I am a safe driver and when I am designated driver for Phill and his mates, I always make it very clear that while I am driving, it’s MY RULES. They often sit in the back and drunkenly stutter “faster! faster! Change lanes! Faster!” and it is hard to resist the peer pressure, but I’m not risking being pulled over by the cops – or worse, an accident, just to look “cool” in front of them.

    A friend of mine died in a car crash because the driver attempted to race a bus through an intersection (the bus was coming from the right hand side to cross the car’s path, the car was on a red light). The front of the car made it, but the bus took out the backseat of the car and my friend and another boy were instantly killed.

    And I don’t trust indicators. The amount of times cars indicate as if they are turning off a roundabout, but then continue around is ridiculous – and I see people enter the round-about and then get beeped at because they’re cutting off the incorrectly-indicating driver. *sigh*

  5. mooiness Post author

    blur ting: too many accidents happen because of that. The way I treat it is as if it was me crossing the road on foot – look both ways.

    Papa: wow that’s a very personal story indeed. Yeah more light-weight stuff will be coming up. πŸ™‚

    mf: that bad huh? better that than being injured or worse. *knock on wood*

    girlstar7: yeah I mentioned it – I said I will sleep it off in the carpark till morning. I won’t let ppl drive in that condition, nor will I get into the car with them.

    katie: that’s a tragic story too and like I said, it’s one thing to be stupid when you are the only one in the car and another when you are carrying passengers. And me no trust indicators especially in the roundabouts. Though the funniest would be someone already in the roundabout stopping and trying to give way to a car which is waiting to come in, causing every other car behind it to screech to a halt. I dunno how these ppl past their driving exams.

  6. mooiness Post author

    blur ting: yeah I read about that before. It involves two persons – one to drive your car and another to follow in a scooter to pick up the driver after they’ve got you home. Definitely a good idea.

  7. alyndabear

    Totally agree with this post. I don’t trust ANYONE driving these days – I’ve seen too many stupid things. And it’s not only young drivers, I’ve seen many an age simply defy the road rules because they think they can. Bloody scary.

  8. mooiness Post author

    Lupin: with ppl starting to party younger and younger, and with easier access to cars now, it’s inevitable.

    alyndabear: also inconsiderate drivers – I don’t get them driving the way they do. I’m sure they’d hate it too if the same shit happens to them. too selfish and too self-centred.

  9. mooiness Post author

    rn: yeah usually two drinks in less than an hour will put anyone over the limit. It’s one thing to risk yourself but it’s another to risk others on the road as well.

    Read your story – wow, pretty fortunate that nothing worse happen. *phew*


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