Wet roads call for extra caution

IT has often been said that speed alone is not the cause of car crashes.

Since Formula 1 racers can compete at 300kph quite comfortably, this gives some credence to that viewpoint.

The difference, of course, is that all the F1 drivers are brilliant at their craft, their race cars are in impeccable condition, and the tracks are likewise in excellent shape.

The same cannot be said for our roads and the vehicles and drivers who populate them.

Excessive speed in the hands of the incapable (or inebriated) is a recipe for disaster.

This leads to comment on the exceptionally wet roads we have experienced during the past week, which brought about a number of fatal and serious accidents.

Again, wet roads alone do not necessarily cause accidents.

Almost always, driver error or unroadworthiness of vehicles is to blame, although on occasion the condition of the road – potholes and accumulated water on the surface – has a negative impact.

Sharing the roads during heavy downpours is a daunting experience, as many could attest over the past week.

Simple observation revealed how many drivers did not take the vital precaution on switching on their vehicle lights.

Thus their own vision was impaired; plus they were not clearly seen by those driving towards or behind them.

Following distances were not respected in many instances, with impatient drivers seeing the slowdown in traffic as an opportunity to overtake and ‘get there quicker’.

Failure to demist the interior of windscreens, broken wiper blades, tyres in poor shape, and lack of appreciation of the effect water has on the braking system all contribute to the chaos.

Add to this the number of unregistered and untrained drivers on the road, as well as the use of cell phones and texting while driving, and the non-use of safety belts.

There’s more rain predicted and following simple rules could make our lives, as well as the jobs of emergency services personnel, a whole lot better.

Dave Savides

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