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Speaker: Sponsored post: Speed and Safety

108 Responses

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  • Jeremy Andrew, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    There is one key assumption in that … that is both cars are identical … however most accidents occur between non-identical cars … in those cases you are significantly better off in the heavier car and with a better crumple zone. In accidents where one car significantly outweighs the other then for the heavy car it is much better to hit another car than to hit a wall.

    I used to work with a chap who drove an old-school Land Rover. He said the crumple zones on it were 3 feet into the other car.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew C, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Are you going to be running one of those “funny” racist ads next with the drunk Māori dude talking in the silly voice?

    I’m completely puzzled by that reading of it

    Could he be meaning the one where the kids are in the parked car mimicing their dads driving stoned?

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Andrew C,

    Could he be meaning the one where the kids are in the parked car mimicing their dads driving stoned?

    The one made by the prominent Māori film-maker in partnership with Māori Television?

    Nah, Rich meant “ghost chips” and he's entitled to a view on it, but I'm glad he eventually watched it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I'm utterly astounded by the comments of (seemingly intelligent and otherwise rational) people here that speed doesn't matter.I won't repeat the arguments I've made, because they were clear enough in the first place.

    It's clear that more advertising over a long period of time will be needed to correct significant misperceptions among male drivers who consider themselves above average in skill and competence.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew C, in reply to George Darroch,

    significant misperceptions among male drivers who consider themselves above average in skill and competence.

    I've got a good friend who's had 8 car dings/crashes/incidents. And he still considers himself to be one of the better drivers he knows, often attempting to commandeer the driving wherever possible. 8! Given this clear cut ignoring of evidence, I don't know how you could shift this from his dna.

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Andrew C,

    Given this clear cut ignoring of evidence, I don't know how you could shift this from his dna.

    I've never understood why high performance cars were allowed to be 'commuter vehicles' - cars advertising '0-120mph in bugger all time' and such like, seems a crass oversupply of potential - when on the road you ain't supposed to go over 100kmph at any time...
    personally I think we should all have Morris Minors that we can work on and drive sedately in...
    ...what's the rush?

    Not driven by the bitterness about the huge Auto Electricians bill I'm about to get for whizzy diagnostic interfacing they had to do, at all
    ;- (

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    personally I think we should all have Morris Minors that we can work on and drive sedately in…
    …what’s the rush?

    A nice modern safe quiet electric/hybrid vehicle for me, please.

    Speed limiters would be useful. You get to 105km/h, and the vehicle starts playing soothing music, pulls over, and tells you how life is about the journey, not the destination.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to George Darroch,

    I totally agree that speed is a big contributor, but I'm not so sure about the conclusion that more advertising is going to change this significantly. But we certainly should do it, just to find out if it will work. It would be very hard to be sure, but we're not the only country doing it, so there should eventually be enough data to find out whether such programs do actually change anything.

    Gut feeling is that they would have some small effect. The direct effect on drivers might not be that great (they basically disagree with the advertised sentiment), but the indirect effect through other people as passengers or mates could be more.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Henry Barnard, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    personally I think we should all have Morris Minors that we can work on and drive sedately in…

    In India, it is the Morris Oxford of 1957 that continues to be produced, with an immense local knowledge by the roadside on how to fix things when things go wrong. But George is right: we need something a little less like a tank.

    Palmerston North • Since Aug 2013 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    If they’re over 50 and got their licence as a teenager they may as well have got their licence out of a Cornflakes packet for all the rigour of the assessment.

    We've been over this before, and the numbers really don't back up what you're saying here. Most of accidents, BY FAR, are by young people. Experience counts for a great deal, and people become naturally far more defensive as they get older. This is nearly indisputable from the actual crash statistics. Old drivers really only start getting unsafe when their powers begin to fail, their eyesight and general concentration.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to George Darroch,

    I’m utterly astounded by the comments of (seemingly intelligent and otherwise rational) people here that speed doesn’t matter.

    In this advert it doesn't. The reality portrayed in this advert would not be altered by the through driver doing the speed limit instead of 8% above it.
    We can inject all the "but he should be doing xyz" we want, but the advert portrays a situation where the laws of physics and human reaction times say that a T-bone collision would not be survivable for anyone directly in the path of the through vehicle.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    why high performance cars

    So we drive a slightly bigger car, which can go faster quicker. Sometimes it's fun to put your foot down and feel the acceleration (from 0 to 40 kph only!). But fun was NOT the reason we purchased it. The reason was that at that time we had to buy a bigger car in order to get the safety features, side impact airbags, electronic steering control etc ... and ... I'm slightly ashamed to say, the extra weight which means that when an accident occurs I'm less likely to be on the wrong side of the mass equation.

    Oh and it was a purty colour and has an awesome stereo!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to BenWilson,

    Experience counts for a great deal, and people become naturally far more defensive as they get older. This is nearly indisputable from the actual crash statistics.

    The statistics also show that younger drivers are getting a lot safer. That's that demanding testing showing up, the testing of which you are so dismissive. You have to live long enough to get experience, after all, and having to prove you've got a modicum of a clue behind the wheel is a good start.

    In the end, the through driver in this advert does not demonstrate defensive behaviour. He's also not in the high-risk age group. So whatever you might think of my views on the level of training and testing to which older drivers have been subjected - and I would hope that you won't try to argue that "take it to the end of the road, do a three-point turn, come back, you didn't crash, here's your licence" is a comprehensive test - you are now trying to alter the presented reality of the advert itself and my views have no bearing on that reality.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    “the more serious the crash, the more likely it is that speed was a contributing factor.”

    But not at 108 in a 100. More like 108 in a 50. Or 150 in a 50. I struggle to recall a single fatal crash I went to (motor vehicle vs motor vehicle and/or stationary object) where the speed involved was not clearly, utterly, ludicrously unsafe. The clown doing 90-something through a Mt Wellington side street who hit a fairly small tree (the tree always wins. Always). The dick racing along Neilson Street who, according to the other driver, was doing at least 150km/h when he launched his car off the apex of the bridge at Onehunga Mall and proceeded to kill his three passengers (two instantly) by drifting uncontrolled into a power pylon a full 50 metres further up the road. The numpty doing north of 100 along Owairaka Ave who hit a blameless, oncoming car with such force that the speeding driver’s transmission was left a dozen metres back up the road from the car’s final position. The guy travelling city-bound along Sandringham Rd who lost it off the top of the Mt Albert Rd intersection at such speed that there was no need to cut open the car to free his deceased brother because the impact with a power pole tore the entire engine bay clean off.
    And on, and on, and on.

    When speed is a factor in the seriousness of the crash, it’s stupid speed that no amount of advertising will lower. It might not be higher than the posted limit, but for the conditions it’s unsafe. Or it’s just so high that it’s unsafe anywhere other than the autobahn or a race track; and in the hands of these drivers, not even those places.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    In this advert it doesn’t. The reality portrayed in this advert would not be altered by the through driver doing the speed limit instead of 8% above it.

    But I don’t think being 8km/h above the speed limit is actually the point of the ad. It’s that the through-driver is all good, driving around the speed limit, handling it etc – but that speed is risky when there’s a possibility that the turning car is going to make a mistake.

    This is what the NZTA backgrounder says:

    Previous campaigns have shown that the faster you go the less time you have to react, the longer it takes to stop and the bigger the mess when you do stop. But people still deny this truth or think it doesn’t apply to them. Their speed may be over the limit but it is minimal, e.g. 107 km/h in a 100 km/h area. In their minds they’re not ‘speeding’, but driving comfortably, and they feel in control.

    This campaign aims to reframe the way that people look at their speed when they’re driving. A person may be a good driver but they can’t deny that people do make mistakes – after all, to err is only human. And in life, mistakes are made often. We usually get to learn from our mistakes; but not when driving – the road is an exception. Even the smallest of mistakes on the road can cost us our life, or someone else’s.

    In a Safe System no one should pay for a mistake with their life. When we drive, we share the road with others so the speed a person chooses to travel at needs to leave room for any potential error – whether it is theirs or someone else’s. At speed, there is less opportunity for a driver to react to a mistake and recover, and this is the key message for this campaign.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to George Darroch,

    ’m utterly astounded by the comments of (seemingly intelligent and otherwise rational) people here that speed doesn’t matter.

    Of course it matters. But focussing on speed to the absolute exclusion of all other factors that the driver can control is counter-productive. I can only recall one ad off the top of my head that didn't focus on speed* - 'drive to the conditions, when they change reduce your speed'. And I've never heard anyone spend time and effort trying to pick holes in that one, either.

    *alcohol excepted, but that's a different story.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But I don’t think being 8km/h above the speed limit is actually the point of the ad.

    If it's not the point, why show it? It's an easy and understandable conclusion to jump to that this would fit the prevailing contextual pattern of focussing on speed as the prime problem. And clearly that's a conclusion that quite a few people are jumping to.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • richard, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    In terms of released energy, yes, it’s four times as bad thanks to the “squared” in the theory of relativity.

    Umm?

    Not looking for New Engla… • Since Nov 2006 • 268 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    Firstly, I would like to congratulate NZTA on its effective and well made advertisement - it really is excellent.

    You've asked about the challenges I've experienced around driving at safe speeds. My view is that we should use technology and good design to increase the speeds at which traffic can safely travel on New Zealand's motorways, arterial routes and other non-residential roads. I would like to see New Zealand's speed limits increased to reverse the effect of the reduction of the Police's enforcement tolerances.

    While I welcome your efforts to improve situational awareness and decision making, I think New Zealand's drivers should be able to travel at speeds above 105km/h on motorways that have been built for this purpose.

    Lastly, I hope that further efforts will be made to address Auckland's severe traffic problems - the most frequently challenging road use problems in my home city don't involve dangerous speed.

    Since Nov 2006 • 783 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to WH,

    My view is that we should use technology and good design to increase the speeds at which traffic can safely travel on New Zealand’s motorways, arterial routes and other non-residential roads. I would like to see New Zealand’s speed limits increased to reverse the effect of the reduction of the Police’s enforcement tolerances.

    No. Firstly there's the obvious issues around fuel consumption and GHG emissions and where all the extra petrol is going to come from. Secondly - to what real benefit? I like having 120km/h speed limits on the faster expressways around here, but as has already been pointed out, it doesn't matter what you're maximum speed limit is it gets pretty boring pretty quickly when you're just cruising along. And realistically speaking, what does that extra speed really get? Even if by some miracle weather, smog and traffic conditions actually allowed me to travel at the maximum speed limit, would that really get me to my destination so much faster the time saved would outweigh the extra petrol burned? I very much doubt it. Also, it doesn't matter what fancy technology you've got, the same laws of physics still apply when you crash. There's no substitution for driver skill, but a lot of this fancy technology is allowing people to let their skills slide or just not develop. If money's going to be spent changing things, it should be spent toughening up driver training and law enforcement, not allowing people to race along in the ultimately false sense of security provided by the "knowledge" that all that fancy technology is going to keep them safe.

    Which should not be taken as some mad Luddite rant. I do like cars to be as simple and low-tech as possible, but I also like fancy technology, and if technology can make driving safer it definitely should be used. But that fancy technology shouldn't be used as an excuse to go faster, not at all.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    Hi Chris,

    Which should not be taken as some mad Luddite rant.

    None taken - this is something everyone will have a view on.

    My experience is that there are many situations where the existing 50km/h - 100km/h limits are unnecessarily low. I know there are situations where they are completely suitable.

    Also, it doesn't matter what fancy technology you've got, the same laws of physics still apply when you crash. There's no substitution for driver skill

    I don't entirely agree with this. Anti-collision systems lower impact speeds and they work by overriding the driver's judgment. That said, I'm not suggesting that drivers should be less vigilant.

    here's the obvious issues around fuel consumption and GHG emissions

    While I'm excited about the prospect of petrol-free cars, I don't think climate change is strictly relevant to road safety. I do take your point, though.

    Since Nov 2006 • 783 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to WH,

    And realistically speaking, what does that extra speed really get?

    It gives you back time. Which is why we build motorways. I can remember when the trip to Whangarei hit suburban roads and horribly dangerous winding highways, at around Albany. The alternate route is still there, and I travelled it recently. It's just like the road in the ad - many places were traffic can and does pull out of side roads onto the highway, and it has one lane in each direction, and winds up and down over hills through farmland. The motorway is much safer and faster. Safer, in fact, makes it faster. By design, you can't T-Bone cars at intersections on motorways.

    But the downside is, of course, that they're colossally expensive. Advertising on TV is not in the same league.

    I'll agree with comments that an obsessive focus on speed is a bad thing. I'm not sure that's entirely what happens in this ad. But it's easy to see the allure of speed as a target for police. It's measurable.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to BenWilson,

    Rushin' Roulette...

    It gives you back time.

    I thought all our devices were supposed to do that,
    so we could then plan to leave earlier on more sedate trips...

    Roads with lots of people on them 'saving time'
    by going faster get congested and dangerous too...

    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to WH,

    That said, I’m not suggesting that drivers should be less vigilant.

    Totally. Therein is the point here. Of course making the roads better will do the lion's share of the work in bringing down road tolls. But that's not something that people making ads have any influence over, and it's also something that is plenty in hand already. A huge proportion of our government budget is dedicated to roading, and a tiny fraction to campaigns of this kinds. So the ads focus on what little they can do, and the message that speed contributes to accidents is true, and easily absorbed. There are many other safety messages that could be delivered, and I think many were delivered in this ad. Of course you should bloody look when you pull out onto a highway! That's really clear here. That's the main cause of the accident. So long as they're giving a breadth of these kind of messages, I'm happy. I don't know how much it helps anything, but I'm certainly not offended by it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Dinah Dunavan,

    I can't speak for Germany or the UK, but in the USA higher speed limits are generally only found on highways, with several lanes and divided. Around rural areas the speed limit, in my experience, is 35, 50, or 55 miles per hour. State Highway 1 in the lower South Island where I do most of my driving is narrower and twistier than most country roads I have driven in the States. A 55 miles per hour road in Washington State feels a lot safer to drive (and walk or ride a bike) than our 100km hour 'highway'.

    Dunedin • Since Jun 2008 • 186 posts Report Reply

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