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Speaker: Sponsored post: Speed and Safety

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  • Rich of Observationz,

    NZ has a higher accident rate than many places with higher (and more leniently enforced) speed limits, like Germany, the US or the UK.

    Driving a car, especially outside a city, does not, I am afraid, generally occupy or get a driver's full attention. They have radio, passengers, scenery and daydreams to fill the gap. The faster they are going, the more attention is likely to be given to the work of driving.

    Then there is the factor that many drivers want to drive in an exuberant/stupid fashion, but know that speeding will likely get them tickets. So they engage in a bunch of substitution activity that's less likely to get them a ticket - wheel spins, dangerous overtaking, bad lane discipline, general aggression and lack of consideration for others.

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

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    NZ has a higher accident rate than many places with higher (and more leniently enforced) speed limits, like Germany, the US or the UK.

    And rather different roads, too.

    Then there is the factor that many drivers want to drive in an exuberant/stupid fashion, but know that speeding will likely get them tickets. So they engage in a bunch of substitution activity that's less likely to get them a ticket - wheel spins, dangerous overtaking, bad lane discipline, general aggression and lack of consideration for others.

    So instead of speeding they do those other things (which by the way could also get them a ticket)? That seems a rather bold claim.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    a bunch of substitution activity that's less likely to get them a ticket - wheel spins, dangerous overtaking, bad lane discipline, general aggression and lack of consideration for others.

    I see this all the time. As a regular cyclist, it's freaky how people voom up to T junctions and stop at the last possible minute, looking straight ahead the whole time, so you end up with them half-blocking the cycle lane and them all bewildered at how you appeared out of nowhere.

    Christchurch in particular seems to be filled with tradesmen in utes and vans careering around in testosterone-stimulated style.

    I usually drive dead on 50 kph. It irritates people. They pass in the right hand lane. Then I catch them at the lights.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Allan MacLachlan,

    I can't help thinking that this campaign will have the effect of shifting the onus or blame towards an innocent party. Sure, in the clip above, the driver on the straight is breaking the speed limit at 108km/h, but that would still not likely have earned him a speeding ticket (unless on a holiday weekend). The primary responsibility is with the driver on the Give Way. The driver on the Give Way should not expect any other driver to allow for his errors at all.

    Sure, I get that we all need to be aware that people make mistakes, and not to trust any other road users. But I think this campaign will fly over most people's heads, and in fact encourage just those conversations after an accident: "why didn't you slow down so I could get through? It's your fault"

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    And if you hit another car that’s moving, the impact speed may be doubled meaning the outcome will be twice as bad.

    Not four times as bad? Or some other even higher number? I'd have thought driving/crashing at 100km/h was much more dangerous than driving/crashing at 50km/h.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    It's an incredible ad.

    I'd like to see more of a focus on overtakers. I identify (more or less) with the man in the white shirt; I do a reasonable amount of driving around the Lower North Island for work. I try and stay close to the limit, or a few km/h below it.

    But it's difficult, because if you go consistently at a speed that is within the law, a person going faster than that speed will soon reach you. That person will tailgate you, cajoling you, desperate for the chance to get ahead. At a certain point, that person will cross the centre line, go into the path of oncoming traffic, and risk killing themselves, you, and the people approaching.

    I'm disappointed that there are still huge swathes of state highway in which white lines indicate overtaking is an acceptable activity - where two vehicles travelling at 100km/h would have no time or space to evade.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    tradesmen in utes and vans

    Tradesmen are the worst. Courier drivers are either really bad or pretty decent when you're cycling, in my experience.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Not four times as bad? Or some other even higher number? I’d have thought driving/crashing at 100km/h was much more dangerous than driving/crashing at 50km/h.

    In terms of released energy, yes, it’s four times as bad thanks to the “squared” in the theory of relativity.
    In terms of actual outcomes, though, it’s really hard to quantify. People die in head-on collisions at 70km/h. People survive head-on collisions at 100km/h. You can’t put a number on it, or really even a hard likelihood of an outcome. There are statistical models, but every single crash is a specific occurrence that can only be fed into such a model in the most generalised sense. ETA: The exception is a car colliding with a large truck, at which point the impact speed absolutely indicates a live/die equation for a true head-on crash.

    This ad annoys me. It implies that the guy who’s travelling 8% above the speed limit is doing something wildly reckless, something so far outside the realms of reasonable behaviour that it increases the risk dramatically. It doesn’t. It’s not even terribly much more released energy in a crash at the shown speed, and at 100km/h when the guy at the give way sign pulls out the through driver would barely have time to realise what was happening before impact.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    And if you hit another car that’s moving, the impact speed may be doubled meaning the outcome will be twice as bad.

    This is false. Two cars hitting head on is the same for the car occupants, as a single car hitting an large stationary object. Assuming both cars are the same weight and going the same speed, and hit square on, then in both cases the speed of the front of the car goes to 0, and the rest of the car crumples behind it.

    This was tested in Mythbusters Episode 143

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Road safety campaigns in their current form seem to be missing the point, so long as better idiots keep being built.

    Fixing offending black spots doesn't have to cost a mint. Unfortunately, those in charge of the transport funds seem more interested in empire building. Case in point: the contrast between the Puhoi-Wellsford holiday highway proposal, and the alternative Operation Lifesaver.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Allan MacLachlan,

    The primary responsibility is with the driver on the Give Way. The driver on the Give Way should not expect any other driver to allow for his errors at all.

    Which is exactly the thinking the ad is getting at. Whoever bears "primary responsibility", there's going to be a bloody mess. Allowing for or anticipating the potential errors of others is the basis of defensive driving.

    I think I've become more attuned to this as a cyclist, where it really doesn't matter if I'm in the right in an accident -- the main thing is that I'm going to be seriously injured.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I can’t help thinking that this campaign will have the effect of shifting the onus or blame towards an innocent party. Sure, in the clip above, the driver on the straight is breaking the speed limit at 108km/h, but that would still not likely have earned him a speeding ticket (unless on a holiday weekend). The primary responsibility is with the driver on the Give Way.

    and

    This ad annoys me. It implies that the guy who’s travelling 8% above the speed limit is doing something wildly reckless, something so far outside the realms of reasonable behaviour that it increases the risk dramatically. It doesn't.

    These both miss the message of the ad (to the extent that it communicates this message it's a success). That message is not that the person driving faster is a bad and reckless person, or that the father is blameless and in the right. It's simply that accidents are more likely at speed, and when they occur the consequences are worse. These were the messages NZTA sought to communicate when putting the ad together, according to their brief.

    For an increase of 8km/h, there is about a 15% increase in energy in the collision, IIRC.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    And if you hit another car that’s moving, the impact speed may be doubled meaning the outcome will be twice as bad.

    Not four times as bad? Or some other even higher number? I’d have thought driving/crashing at 100km/h was much more dangerous than driving/crashing at 50km/h.

    Yes this is definitely true. I think it'd be closer to 4 times as bad, than 2 times as bad. However, two cars colliding head on at 50, is definitely not the same as one car colliding with something at 100km/h.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to George Darroch,

    That message is not that the person driving faster is a bad and reckless person, or that the father is blameless and in the right. It’s simply that accidents are more likely at speed, and when they occur the consequences are worse.

    In which case, put the speedo on 100km/h. Why is “excessive” speed even important to this message? It’s not. The crash would occur with or without those extra 8km/h; it would still be devastating to the car that’s collected from the side, with or without those extra 8km/h. A T-bone collision at that speed is almost invariably fatal at open road speeds, and those extra 8km/h do nothing except detract from the message. They’re not needed to deliver the message.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to George Darroch,

    For an increase of 8km/h, there is about a 15% increase in energy in the collision, IIRC.

    Yes, but the difference between 100km/h and 108km/h is negligible. You're not suddenly going to die because of that extra 15%. It's not the difference between 40km/h and 50km/h to a pedestrian hit by a car, which is fairly literally the difference between life and death.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    show me a sign, and lo...

    Fixing offending black spots doesn't have to cost a mint.

    I saw a good example of a fix on the main road to the West Coast last weekend - at one intersection in the middle of a long open road straight, a 70km speed limit sign well in advance of the intersection, is triggered on when a car stops at the side road stop sign, to turn into the main traffic.

    The signs that show you your speed in built up areas are helpful too...

    They are solar-powered it seems, dunno what they cost, but I bet they pay for themselves in non-callouts to non-accidents in no time flat...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7886 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Open road speeds are decreasing over time. We've scrubbed off about 5km/h over the last decade, and that has saved a lot of lives.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I saw a good example of a fix on the main road to the West Coast last weekend – at one intersection in the middle of a long open road straight, a 70km speed limit sign well in advance of the intersection, is triggered on when a car stops at the side road stop sign, to turn into the main traffic.

    They're rolling these out across high-risk open road intersections over the country.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    From a media-crit perspective, the "Mistakes" ad is very interesting. At the time of writing, it's closing in on nine million YouTube plays since January -- compared to "Ghost Chips", which was more part of the vernacular, but has managed only two million in two years. That's largely down to remarkable international attention, including being named by TED in its annual list of "10 ads worth watching".

    Significantly, it doesn't dwell on carnage. There's evidence that people have begun to turn off the traditional shock PSA -- we know what's coming, it's a trope.

    This one makes no attempt to get into the vernacular, but like "ghost chips", it deliberately makes room for contemplation and forward thought -- by halting time so the protagonists can reflect on their respective follies and what they are about to reap. We cut away from the actual collision the second it happens. Compare that to the notorious Welsh PSA, which is a full four minutes of horror.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    ...to a pedestrian hit by a car, which is fairly literally the difference between life and death.

    Coupled with the new car/ute/SUV front design which seems higher and blunter these days, no more 'cow-catching' of struck pedestrians and sweeping them over the bonnet, it seems...

    I always remember that monthly trip back from Warkworth with a van full of Rip It Ups (fresh of the press) and that fear of the sudden transition from being a 'well engineered machine smoothly eating up the miles' to a 'hurtling mass of metal loaded with several trees worth of pulp weight going where ever momentum will take it' - luckily I only ever had one blow out, and that was scary!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7886 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Coupled with the new car/ute/SUV front design which seems higher and blunter these days, no more ‘cow-catching’ of struck pedestrians and sweeping them over the bonnet, it seems…

    Cars sold in the EU have had pedestrian impact standards as part of their safety testing since the early 2000s, and I know that other jurisdictions have introduced them over time. Which means that any vehicle is considerably less likely to kill a pedestrian in a collision at survivable speeds.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to George Darroch,

    That message is not that the person driving faster is a bad and reckless person, or that the father is blameless and in the right. It's simply that accidents are more likely at speed, and when they occur the consequences are worse.

    As Matthew has just said I think the speed thing is a distraction in this campaign, or at least in the ad, even if its relevant.

    When the ad was first posted to YouTube, I found it amazing to see just how many people in the video's comment thread and elsewhere were screaming that "the guy pulling out of the intersection was a terrible driver". "It was all his fault". "Why do we let crappy drivers on our roads?!?!?" "Case closed".

    ...or to similar effect. Does NZ require defensive driving courses yet, or are they still just a faster-licensing incentive?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I always remember that monthly trip back from Warkworth with a van full of Rip It Ups (fresh of the press) and that fear of the sudden transition from being a ‘well engineered machine smoothly eating up the miles’

    You know, I've never thought of the CF Bedford in quite that way ...

    to a ‘hurtling mass of metal loaded with several trees worth of pulp weight going where ever momentum will take it’ – luckily I only ever had one blow out, and that was scary!

    Yikes. I drove it the length of the island and never had one. I did once back into a Mercedes in Parnell ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    by halting time so the protagonists can reflect on their respective follies and what they are about to reap.

    A message that might be less-controversially got across by having the through driver do something that does not carry connotations of blatant fault and risk-taking, like looking down to change the radio station, or getting distracted by a billboard. That moment of inattention is the real killer, not the difference between the 100km/h limit and 108km/h.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Wood, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Yes, but the difference between 100km/h and 108km/h is negligible.

    Let's take a look at that using physics.

    All else being equal, stopping distance at 100km/h = 49.2m, while stopping distance at 108km/h = 57.4m

    8.2 metres is actually quite a long way into another person's car.

    Now back in Aucktown • Since Dec 2006 • 86 posts Report Reply

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