The car went out of control?
As a young kid, doing skids on my push bike taught me certain skills. There were plenty of times enthusiasm took over resulting in the loss of skin. This was an amazing school of adventure with trial and error being the road map teaching failure or success. Identifying rear wheel skid was easy, resulting in locking the back brake, laying my bike over with corrective handle bar lock. Front wheel skid was never planned, it happened when entry was too fast, rapid weight shift had me low siding my Malvern Star then biting the dirt. Call it a balancing act that required precision movements, not too much speed, thinking, technique in braking and some luck thrown in for good measure.
Fast forward to car driving and many of the principles are the same except for two wheels being replaced with four. For those who never ventured passed training wheels, never had a billycart with no brakes, lived in beigeville, may the force be with you. Childhood memories can either be mild or wild, it’s how you viewed risk and how you managed it! For drivers that only ever did basic stuff like, drive in dry conditions, drive below sign posted speed limits, drive so defensively they give way to anything that moves etc, etc.
Imagine if you were confronted with a challenging situation that required panic braking compounded with massive steering input topped up with adrenalin pumping your brain. From my extensive experience, humans and motor vehicles work well together in a perfect world. It’s when things turn pear shape that untrained drivers either overreact, or simply freeze. I witnessed this at a wet low speed roundabout, a driver entered on my right, turned the wheel and they understeered straight ahead mounting the gutter. When I approached them to see if they were ok the driver said, I turned the wheel and the car would not steer, I think the steering failed?
Had there been pedestrians the situation could have been fatal so what did this driver learn? Absolutely nothing, in their mind the car was at fault, you know the drill naughty car! Firstly the tyres were only just street legal and under inflated. Entry speed was a little fast and acceleration was activated too soon causing the front to lift. You don’t need to be a brain surgeon to figure out weight transfer went to the rear giving no front end grip hence, understeer! Could this driver be a repeat offender, moving on with no knowledge or skills continuing to blame the vehicle? Absolutely, you can bet on it, I call these drivers habitual stuff up’s just waiting for their next opportunity.
While this is a very pessimistic view on life, I believe it is also totally realistic. Was the driver speeding, in this situation it was a 60km/h zone? I estimate they were under this however, the wet road, unsafe tyres, incorrect driving techniques caused this driver to crash. Passing their driving test back whenever did not equip this person with knowledge, that’s unless we are critiquing a reverse park. Again the supposed road safety experts will stand proud claiming, If you do any type of driving course it will make you over confident and you will take greater risks! Let’s go back to the accident I witnessed and imagine there were pedestrians on the outside of this roundabout. Three are now dead, four have life long injuries requiring permanent rehabilitation and the driver still blames their vehicle. Police will say the driver was not speeding, the wet road, camber contributed to this most unfortunate accident.
There is a saying “ ignorance is bliss” or put it this way, you don’t know what you don’t know. This is why we have different levels of education starting with primary school, secondary moving on to university then work environment where individuals continue to learn on the job. Now look at driving, it’s mostly Mum’s and Dad’s teaching their kids then a handful of learner lessons to help you pass the test then you’re on your own. How can any responsible human being in a Government position of power stand up and say, The current system is ok?
Doing nothing is an excuse, claiming over confidence comes from attending driver training courses is laughable. Sadly the victims of road carnage and their families, friends and work colleagues are not laughing. It’s time for Government policy to be changed to better equip drivers with knowledge which after all is power.
Getting people to put this life saving knowledge and competency to the test starts with knowing how a motor vehicle functions, this being delivered through effective driver training programs.
Remember public roads are not race tracks or drag strips. If you have a need for speed get into motorsport, it’s fun.
See ya on the track.