“You wouldn’t admit it, so why do you do it?”

Why indeed…

The latest anti-speeding radio campaign features people "admitting" to knowing how speeding is dangerous and puts lives at risks. While the intentions are good, I find the advertisement infuriatingly ignorant and insulting to the average speeding driver. Being a radio advertisement, I can't find a full transcript of what it says but it's something along the lines of:

Person: "I know that traveling at 65kmph increases the risk of serious injuries in an accident, but I'm willing to gamble with my life… oh, and yours too."
Voice Over: "You wouldn't admit it, so why do you do it?"

The part I find infuriating is the implication that people speed because they have a disregard for other people's lives. So why do people "do it"? I believe the main reason is because they feel that when driving along a wide straight road on a clear sunny day with not a single pedestrian in sight, going 5 or 10 kmph over the limit isn't going to do any harm.

As a learner driver, I always made sure to follow the road rules and never traveled over the speed limit. I often traveled at less than the speed limit, causing many cars to line up behind me as I 'slowly' made my way along the road. After getting my full licence, I remained the cautious and law-abiding driver. I used to think that the majority of drivers obeyed the speed limits, but over time, I noticed that even as I was traveling at the speed limit, or sometimes a few kmph above the speed limit, cars were still zipping past me.

When I was on my probationary licence, I had to pass a Hazard Perception Test in order to get my full licence. The test involves seeing various situations one would encounter on the road and clicking when you would take action, such as slowing down or stopping. For example, one scenario involves a traffic light intersection where you are to click when you will make a right turn, but there is a truck on the opposite side obscuring part of the road. Legally, the light was green and you could've made that right-turn, but the correct answer is to not click because in the scenario, you will find that a motorcycle will appear from behind the truck, and if you had made that right-turn, you would've hit the motrocyclist.

The point of the Hazard Perception Test was not to see if you knew the laws relating to driving (as this is covered in the test to get your Learner's Permit), rather the Hazard Perception Test is meant for testing the experience one should have gained while on a Probationary Licence.

I've had my full licence for 4 years now, I'm not saying that I'm the best driver in the world, but I feel with my experience, I am capable of driving without causing harm to myself or others. If I make the decision to travel above the speed limit, I make that decision based on my experience, which tells me that on a wide pedestrian-free main road, the only consequence of adding a few kmph onto my speed is me getting to my destination sooner. Experience also tells me that if the weather is bad, or if it's dark, or if there are lots of cars and pedestrians about, then it's safer to travel at or under the speed limit.

And for the record, I have been involved in 2 traffic accidents where I was the driver, but neither were related to speed (was only tavelling 5kmph in the first accident, and wasn't moving at all 0kmph in the second accident), plus I have never had any offences recorded against me.

Unfortunately, speeding is often a factor in accidents, but I believe that insulting the average experienced driver isn't going to do much to help the situation. Rather, there should be a focus on getting new drivers to gain more experience. One recommendation is increasing the probationary period from 2 years to 3 years. I think the latest radio advertising campaign is completely ineffective at encouraging people to not speed, it just sounds stupid and unrealistic.

3 thoughts on ““You wouldn’t admit it, so why do you do it?””

  1. So you believe 4 years is enough? ;)
    I don't see how such an ad is insulting o.o It's sadly a fact that many accidents with deadly outcome could've been avoided if the "participating" drivers would've driven slower. I don't think anyone cares or makes an ad for those who drive 10km/h faster in the outback. :P
    Dunno what it's like over there, but here, people go 65 km/h where 50 is allowed in cities, and I believe it does increase certain risks in such areas.
    Clearly the ad is targeted at people who drive recklessly. As far as I can see, they do not call your name or something, so no need to make a fuss. If they cared about each person who is mistakenly offended.. well, there would be no way to approach these people who go 70 where 50 is allowed :p Though they probably don't care, anyway. And people who speed when others are around them ignore the fact that increased speed -> increased energy -> more damage.
    So.. your rant is unjustified, imo.

  2. "Of course, there is no doubt that increased speed = increased fatalities, but what is left out of the equation is that increased speed only results in increased fatalities in the event of an accident. People don't die because they are moving fast, people die when they are forced to stop moving after moving fast. "
    ^ Don't you think that this is a somewhat naive statement?
    The chance of being able to avoid an accident decreases when you are going faster. Plus, there's a limit to the amount of energy a car can absorb until it leaves it up to you to absorb the rest. That limit is around 64 km/h, and an accident at such a speed will still leave you injured.
    If people never made any accidents, then setting speed limits is ridiculous, true.
    The line is btw calculated as following.
    When you go 25 km/h and increase your speed to 50 km/h, you reduce the amount of time needed by 50% – in case you never have to stop. I think we both agree that 100 km/h is too fast in cities, and 25 km/h is too slow (sometimes).
    If you are driving an average car which weighs around 1500kg, your kinetic energy is 1875000 Joules.
    Now, you are bored because 50 seems to slow and you think you have to hurry or whatever reason you have, so you go up to 60 km/h. In case you, again, do not have to stop (which basically never happens in the city, I mean, heck, here, you meet people who just went by @ 70 km/h at the next traffic light), the time needed for your journey decreases by 20%. If it normally takes you 30 minutes, it now takes you 24 minutes.
    However, your energy goes up to 2700000 Joules, which is 44% more energy that you will have handle. 5 km/h more, and it's 69%.
    The risks that come with such an increase are not worth your 6 minutes. And if you are going on a long journey and you'd save more time by going faster, you probably don't travel through cities that often anyway, so as I said earlier: No one cares if you speed in the outback. At least I don't care :P

    The main problem is that people generally underestimate the forces that are behind the concept of a car. 10 km/h makes a difference in an accident, and the petty amounts of time you save by going 10 km/h faster are just not worth a human life.

  3. Of course, there is no doubt that increased speed = increased fatalities, but what is left out of the equation is that increased speed only results in increased fatalities in the event of an accident. People don't die because they are moving fast, people die when they are forced to stop moving after moving fast.

    Banning cars altogether would also reduce fatal accidents, as would making it mandatory for people to wear helmets, shoulder, knee and elbow pads at all times. The thing is, where to draw the line?

    Is 4 years experience enough? I started learning to drive at the same time as the son of my mum's friend. Same car, same driving instructor. To this date, he still hasn't gotten his license. So for some people, 4 years isn't enough.

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