By: Nico Esterhuizen, General Manager of Insurance Risk at the South African Insurance Association
As the fourth UN Global Road Safety Week kicks off from Monday, 8 May to Sunday, 14 May, South Africans are urged to reduce speed when travelling in order to make our roads safer. According to Arrive Alive, if you’re driving at 120 km/h, you are twice as likely to die in an accident versus if you were driving at 100 km/h. If you’re driving at 130 km/h, you are three times as likely to die.
Arrive Alive’s research also shows the impact of a car’s speed if it hits a pedestrian. The likelihood of death of a pedestrian hit at 40 km/h is approximately 30%, while the probability of death of a pedestrian hit at 60 km/h is around 90 percent.
These are scary facts, especially when one considers the high accident rate on SA roads. We had 235 deaths as a result of accidents over the Easter long weekend alone.
During UN Global Road Safety Week, the Business for Road Safety Forum (BRS), which includes the SAIA are promoting the #SlowDown campaign, to encourage drivers to slow down on the roads.
Esterhuizen shared the following scenarios where drivers may be encouraged to speed, but should slow down instead:
You’re on holiday and excited to get to your destination as quickly as possible.
#SlowDown – you won’t enjoy the holiday very much if you have to spend it in hospital or if you have to cancel the holiday because your car is no longer driveable.
You’re late for a meeting or you overslept and you’re late for work.
#SlowDown – take two minutes before you run out the door to send your boss or the person you are meeting a quick text message explaining that you are running late. They would rather have you arrive late than not at all.
Truck drivers racing to make a delivery on time.
#SlowDown – this is potentially a scary scenario because an accident involving a truck usually causes much more damage and more serious injuries than an accident between two cars. In addition, if the truck is carrying a heavy load, the vehicle could easily jack knife when brakes are applied at high speed, resulting in an accident that could involve several other vehicles, innocent passengers, and pedestrians.
You’re taking your child to school or to an event and you’re running late.
#SlowDown – this is a young life that you are responsible for every time you sit behind the wheel. Can you imagine your life without them in it?
Your passenger is impatient or considers themselves a daredevil and encourages you to speed.
#SlowDown – the same passenger is likely to be upset with you if there is an accident as they could be seriously injured. A more serious consideration is that the same passenger is unlikely to reimburse you for the financial impact of a car accident, when you have to pay for repairs to your car and possibly those of any other vehicles involved in an accident as a result of your speeding.
The most common reason for speeding is often a simple lack of planning. You don’t allow enough time for your journey or you run late and then end up racing on the road to make up for the lost time. Too often, people are so sure that they will not be an accident statistic but the reality is that your chances increase as soon as you start driving faster, and the potential consequences are just not worth it.