car tuning

31 Jan 2008

Road deaths - speed or congestion?

When people start moaning about speed enforcement and start to make a case for it they often site road safety as an argument.

These people allege that speed itself is a cause of road traffic accidents. I have no detailed statistics to quote from, but this is a new project of mine so I will report back with my findings soon.

My theory is that congestion and pinch point in traffic are the major causes of traffic accidents.

1) Cars waiting to turn off a main road often cause a tailback. This is a prime opportunity for a driver (at normal road speeds) to come round a blind bend and fail to notice the situation ahead and plough into the car in front.

2) Journey times are longer due to congestion and long journeys are associated with tiredness and reduce driver reactions.

3) Overtaking. This could be put down to speed but generally a driver will miss time an overtake maneuver and hit an on coming car. If our roads flowed well and there were suitable passing places there would be no need for the risky overtake maneuver.

4) Crowded streets lined with parked cars make it hard, or near impossible to spot pedestrians wandering out into the road. Again with less cars on the road we would not have this problem to contend with.

5) Anger and road rage are major causes of bad lapses of judgement resulting in accidents. Stress and tension are greater when the congestion is greater on our roads.

So rather than slowing cars down with speeding fines, which some say is a smokescreen for raising revenue, I would suggest that our road infrastructure is at fault for a major proportion of our road deaths and injuries. If my theory is borne out by the facts I will publish these for all to see.

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