Monday, June 21, 2021

Slow drivers most likely cause of road accidents!

Sir Percival, my trusty 20-year-old Satria, is no boxy car!

Just before Chinese New Year (2015) I had to pick up my laptop from a shop in Tanjong Malim. Not knowing the traffic cops had set a trap for motorists between Kerling & Kalumpang, I was shocked to find a speeding ticket waiting for me in the post months after the festive season. There was a B&W image of my car (so no argument) & I was accused of traveling at 70kmh in a 60kmh zone. Long story short, I got hit for RM150 but at least the lady cop who issued the receipt passed me her mobile number (which remains unused).

This got me a little annoyed, you can imagine. I'm used to thinking in mph, not kph, so a speed limit of 60kph translates as 36mph - that's slower than your average Kancil or Kelisa driven by an 80-year-old granny. I know the cops aren't really concerned about my safety - they only want the money. It's legalized extortion, no less. But it got me pondering once again the abysmal lack of insight of those who purport to administer departments, states, even entire countries & who take it upon themselves to constantly enact new laws (oblivious of the truism that more laws equal less justice).

To my mind the primary cause of highway accidents is slow drivers. The secondary cause is often tow-truck operators working in cahoots with workshop owners who deliberately spill oil on the roads & then await their prey.

But let's focus on the slow coaches for now. I've been driving since I was 15 (first two years without a licence, couldn't wait) & I had the best driving instructor in the world - my dad. He told me how you can tell a confident driver from a timid one by observing how often they use their foot brake, especially around corners. He taught me how to apply the accelerator for better traction on wet roads while taking a bend, instead of jamming on the brakes, which could cause a tailspin. Over the decades, I have found his advice entirely sound & when I see a driver ahead of me overusing his or her brakes I can tell at once we have a timid, incompetent driver (well, I guess not everyone has a dad like mine who taught me so many practical things as a kid).

Anyway, these timid drivers are often also nervous & overcautious & they seem to favor boxy cars that resemble horse-driven coaches, which reveals their conservative taste. Apart from that, their fearfulness tends to make them more insular - with the unfortunate result that they become insensitive to other drivers. Often they seem so preoccupied with keeping their eyes on the road ahead they become unaware of the long line of vehicles behind them, unable to overtake on narrow or busy roads. Now don't get me wrong. There's a place for everyone under the sun - including nervous, fear-driven types. In almost every case, these neuroses are acquired through family dynamics (overprotective mum, overbearing dad) & can be quite easily transmuted - so long as the sufferer is open to jettisoning unnecessary emotional baggage & getting on with life.

What I'm driving at is simply this: why punish confident, competent drivers by imposing absurd speed limits on us? I'm willing to bet that if a statistical study was conducted, at least 80% of road accidents result from drivers getting impatient & taking unnecessary risks after being stuck for some time behind slow-moving vehicles, especially on narrow single-lane roads. 

I'm not suggesting that slow, timid drivers be banned or penalized. Indeed, nobody needs to be punished for being what they are - but those inclined to be fearful, overcautious, nervous would do well (for themselves & for others) to be open to healing their childhood traumas & replacing fear-based outlooks with more dynamic, more self-confident tendencies. Then they might discover that driving can be joyful & pleasurable - not a terrifying ordeal - & that becoming a better, more alert driver is self-rewarding. Fear & anxiety fuels incompetence, no doubt about that.

Those who insist on clinging to their anxious, timid dispositions can always opt for public transport & help ease traffic congestion.

21 June 2015


3 comments:

Nulls Clash said...

Thank you for sharing this. It was helpful. Keep sharing such things.

gbwhatsapp said...

This is weird lol, as I thought fast drivers are the cause of most accidents. You should also include those drunk and drive legends too.

Ganason said...

Cars are now are mostly using automatic transmission. So they don't have gears to control speed and traction that old-timers used. Now, no choice but use the breaks.