Thursday, March 20, 2008

Not about boy racers?

While it's understandable that the grief of the sister of a car crash victim can make her want the press attention to her brother's death go away, her description of it not being a boy-racer incident is misplaced.

The police seem to think the two cars were racing. Presumably they would have some prima facie evidence to that effect.

Unfortunately it doesn't take a helluva lot of encouragement for people to go nuts behind the wheel. It's also a well documented phenomen that getting behind the wheel changes some persons' behaviour totally.

Leaving aside the fact that nothing has been said about the behaviour of the driver who also died in the incident, this story once again highlights the sad truth that there is significant number of Kiwi drivers who do not know how to balance risk and safety.

The Aggressive Drivers website carries a number of conference papers, one of which has this passage that certainly rang true:

"The risk in driving is largely under the control of the driver. The driver
decides in each moment what risks to take and which to inhibit or avoid. Risk
taking is a tendency that varies greatly among drivers as well as for the same
driver under different conditions. Thus, if a road is made safer by
straightening it, or by removing objects that interfere with visibility, drivers
will compensate for the greater safety by driving faster—the "risk homeostasis"

Hence the stupid, stupid, stupid practice of people speeding up when reaching passing lanes. "The road is wider, I can go faster."

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