Found out about this little site from an article discussion on Fark that complies videos of car crashes. Nothing gory or explicit, just normal car crashes. People losing control of their vehicles, fender benders and that sort of thing. Link: http://carcrashes.altervista.org
Watching some of those videos, I can’t help but cringe. Again, not because there’s blood flying around or any excessive injuries displayed. The videos are mainly just two vehicles colliding with nothing of the aftermath being displayed, so it’s not “squick” that is making me cringe (not that it would). Instead, it’s the near universal aggressive or careless manner of the driving that causes me to flinch when watching. Which prompts this little post.
Not that everyone needs to hear this, but I’m going to throw it out there anyway. Here are a couple of things one should be able to bring away from these videos:
1. Motorcyclists of every type (scooters, Harleys, etc) – you are not above the law, beside it or otherwise around it. You have to obey the rules of the road just as any other vehicle has to. This means that you are not allowed to circle around a car that is legally stopped in the lane to continue along. As many of the riders in the videos discover, a stopped car is frequently stopped for a reason. Be it to let another car go by, a red light, a pedestrian or whatever, they are stopped for good reason. Going around them is not just illegal, it’s retarded. Red lights apply to you. Stop signs apply to you. Signal lights on other vehicles indicating intent apply to you.
2. Another for the cyclists – you vehicle is not a steamroller and it is certainly far from the biggest thing on the road. You need to be vigilant when driving more so than those in other vehicles, if for no other reason than that yours is so much smaller than the others. A slip in a car at 60 km results in minor injuries. A slip on a scooter at 40 km can result in major injuries or death. Pay heed to the vehicles and what they are up to – remember that, because you are on a motorcycle, you are basically invisible to other traffic.
When we drive, we watch for other vehicles by loading icons of sorts. Most people automatically load the car icon, the truck, the van, the transport truck, and so forth. But pedestrians and motorcycles are not loaded, mostly because they are not considered a threat. In some accidents with either, you will hear the driver say that they didn’t see the person – they are partially telling the truth. They didn’t notice them as they were not a threat. This is made worst when the biker does the things noted above – it’s a formula for injury.
3. Pedestrians are another one. You really should cross the road at designated crosswalks. you are not guaranteed safety from jackass drivers and other morons, but it sure helps. “But it’s all the way over there in the wrong direction.” Yeah, I understand what you mean. Easier for a vehicle to make up time than you. But if you must jaywalk, do keep the following tips in mine. Make sure the way is clear. I mean, that thing we tell children about looking both ways? It’s good sense – make sure to do that. Don’t dash out from between parked cars and large ones especially. Don’t try to “just make it before that car” – you are not a Olympic sprinter and even if you are, you cannot run at full speed immediately from a dead stop. That car is covering distance faster than you. Better a little later to your destination than injured or dead. And for the love of all that is sweet and delicious on this planet, wear something reflective! It really, really helps. If someone can see you, they are a lot less likely to hit you. Too many of those vids have pedestrians that are hit because they were wear black in the dark and crossing a busy road.
4. Don’t be aggressive jackasses on the road, drivers. Speeding, weaving between traffic, cutting others off – it all counts as aggressive driving. And it gets you nowhere. Even you destination. Do you realize that over the course of an entire trip to work, speeding and pushing may save you, at most, 5 minutes on the drive. And that’s a pretty optimistic estimate. Aggression makes you less apt to observe conditions as well as leave you will less time to react according to danger ahead. Many of the accidents there are due to simple speed – the individual is travelling too fast to react to a sudden problem on the road. You have to realize that a vehicle travelling at 60 km/h requires about 20 meters of hard braking to stop – that’s about 66 feet. The average vehicle is about 15 feet long which means you need more than 4 car lengths of space to stop. Add to that the time to see the problem, understand it is a problem, and react and you likely need at least triple that. If you’re speeding, that ain’t going to be available.
5. Snow means slow. Rain means slow. The road is not a “one speed fits all conditions” surface. If there’s rain on the road, you cannot hydroplane at 60 km or lower per hour – it is physically impossible. If there’s snow on the road, you are a lot less likely to lose control at 30 or 40 km than you are at 80. It’s common sense – when the conditions deteriorate, slow down.
6. Inattentive driving. When you are trying to merge into traffic, look for other traffic. They are in the thoroughfare and they have the right of way. They also have no reason to bow before you and let you out. They are going to drive on – don’t bet on their curtiousness or their own attention. When switching lanes, keep your eye on other vehicles – again, they have no obligation to let you in. The signal is a sign of intent to them so that they can get on guard for whatever bonehead idiocy you are about to pull, but it does not guarantee compliance.
The great tip to all driving is the oldest one – be defensive. Most people seem to have lost sight of what that means, so I will re-write it for the modern age. Drive you car, your motorcycle, your truck or even walk like everyone else is out to hit you. Seriously. If you drive like you believe everyone is trying to strike your vehicle at every chance, then you will be more defensive. That guy signaling to get in there? He’s coming whether you’re there or not. That guy hanging in the left hand turning lane? He’s turning when the light goes red for him and green for you. That guy riding your bumper? He’s going to be aboard of it if you so much as sneeze. Drive like everyone else is a maniacal idiot and give them the respectful distance that such lunatics deserve. You’ll have a whole lot less dings in your car.