My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad

« Naive | Main | Moving Pictures »


The Sheriff's Department I was with required that all deputies be re-certified every three years for HEVOC (High-Speed Emergency Vehicle Operations Course). Every year 1/3rd of the Department would either go to the CHP (California Highway Patrol) course or the Sears Point Raceway racing car class (alternated each rotation). These courses were a week long, so maybe 5 or 6 Deputies would go each week.

BTW - We also had to pass a weapons proficiency test every calendar quarter.

I remember once on the Newcastle Expressway it rained so heavily that visibility was down to about halfway along the bonnet. I pulled over and stopped, but could still hear the cars flying past at the speed limit. Note that I said 'hear' and not 'see'. Figuring one of these dickheads was going to rear-end me I crawled along at about 30k's with one eye on the guardrail and one eye out the front to look out for other stopped vehicles until I made it up an off-ramp.
I'm rarely scared in a vehicle but I was that day.

Totally off-topic, but here is an interesting video

I am sure that somewhere there is research showing that most advanced driver training didn't increase safety, as shown by post training behaviour and fines, accidents, but reinforced already over confident (mostly male) drivers.

I think it may be a comment on the type of people who normally take these courses.

i endorse everything said, adrian.

in terms of males - i reckon something even more dangerous is overconfident females. they are crazy! at majority of blokes have grown up with dangerous driving and can handle the car (in my experience) but these chicks think they need to compete - and they have no idea how to accelerate out of corners etc. - they just tailgate and drive fast.

also - it bugs me how young drivers pay more for car insurance. 3rd party property should be mandatory and a flat rate (as should ALL insurance - risk be buggered!)

In regards to roundabouts: I find it infuriating that people don't use their indicators properly on them. In Queensland, you must indicate to leave a roundabout no matter if you are going left, right or straight ahead. What I find most infuriating about this is that people simply don't know that it is the law, it is their ignorance that annoys me.

The only thing that will reduce the hazard of the roundabouts is to apply a maximum approach speed of say 30 kmh.

At least the drivers applying the give way to the right principle are giving way to a direction at least. The common approach is first on takes all.

Roundabouts are quite simply an extension of the Give Way sign - observant drivers will note the similarities between both signs. The law is, in fact, is that "114 Giving way when entering or driving in a roundabout
(1) A driver entering a roundabout must give way to:
(a) any vehicle in the roundabout; and
(b) a tram that is entering or approaching the roundabout."

That is give way to " any vehicle in the roundabout;". Roundabouts give me the heeby jeebys and rate on my scale of dangerous road conditions with P-platers, tail gaters, and obsessive-complusive lane changers, and those who drive at or below 20 kmh of the speed limit.

I think I'm very fortunate that my little Festiva has such luxuries as indicators! So many other more fancier and more expensive vehicles don't have them! I just love those folk who don't use indicators!
I'm a woman driver and I don't 'tailgate', know how to 'accelerate out of corners'. I wouldn't be here today to write this if I'd jammed on the brakes during one frightening incident...I pushed down on the accelerator and accelerated out of a potential accident, details of which I shan't go into here as the story is too long...but I was taught to be an aware driver...aware of what is going on around me, behind me and ahead of me...not to just be aware of the vehicle immediately in front of me...the one I'm not thing that really annoys me are those clowns who don't know how to drive on a motorway...those who hang in the right lanes after passing. Some people are very selfish drivers believing they are the only ones on the roads. times I've been known to go over the speed limit...I doubt there are many among us who don't or haven't. I stick to the limits around built-up areas. Only the other day, an idiot sped past me where I was doing the legal '60ks'...he (and note I said 'he', not 'she') screamed past me , crossing the double lines...and around a bend ahead....yeah...'he' was male...and I'm female.

I take nothing and no one for granted when I'm driving. I kinda like living.

Holden and Ford know fully well that their cars are the ones young inexperienced male drivers (and occasionaly females) love to speed and unfortunately die in!! Instead of trying to do their bit to curb this deadly behaviour, the car companies seek to profit from it.. Just look at the names of some of their models such as Typhoon and Pursuit.... Their advertising always showcases the power and speed of the vehicles.
Whilst indviduals should carry the burden of responsibility for their dangerous driving, there is no doubt ford and holden have the blood of innocent Australians on their hands..'s still a case of 'passing the buck' individual should be accountable for his/her own actions. It's all too easy to blame others/companies for one's own actions. No one forces you to speed and drive recklessly...a name of a make of car is not going to do this. You are responsible for your own actions. This is my belief.

Toby, blaming car manufacturers for the deaths of motorists is folly. As lg said, ultimately, we are all responsible for our own actions.

Besides, these cars such as Typhoons and Pursuits tend to be driven by people who are interested in their driving. I'm only 19, but I've owned three fairly powerful Falcodores. I've never been booked, and haven't had a crash, but have avoided several. That's because I pay attention to what I'm doing, and am always aiming to improve my driving. I have been known to drive fast, but I choose such occasions carefully. Safety is about attitude.

While I'm at it, bashing P-platers is similarly unfair. Sure, they (we) lack experience, but these are the drivers who have recently passed a driving test, know the rules, and have better reflexes than anyone else on the road. Yes, there are some dickheads, but there are dickheads in all age groups. In the last few days on my bike, I've been forced off the road by a mum in a Pajero, and had to dodge an old bloke not looking to change lanes.

IMHO, people die on the roads for one of three reasons:
1. youthful exuberance
2. being fucking stupid (drinking, falling asleep, etc)
3. inattention

The first group can be fixed either by growing up and learnign that tyres and clutches cost money, or by advanced driver training on a closed circuit/skidpan.

The second and third groups can be discouraged with penalties, but many will continue regardless. These are the dangerous drivers.

Gotta disagree on the P-platers Dane. I rack up alot of k's/annum and my first guiding principle is to keep a vast distance between myself, trucks and p-platers.

I think you're on the mark with p-platers "...have better reflexes than anyone else on the road" it's just that IMO driving safely is not about reflexes, it's about avoiding dangerous situations. That's what makes the platers so dangerous - they have an exagerated opinion about their driving ability.

As for m-bike riders, like smokers, their part of a dying breed.

I did the Ian Luff driving training course two years ago - I liked it so much, I put 20 of my staff through it. The course paid for itself when one of them avoided a very nasty prand on the M5 a week after attending the course.

I learnt a lot about how well (or badly) my 4WD handles in the wet, and particularly on corners in the wet. A day on the skidpan was invaluable. I wish we had a policy at work where no one could drive a company vehicle without doing the course.

We had a few P-platers on the course that admitted to being ordered to attend by their parents. One was driving a flash little BMW. He was pretty confident on the first brake test (in the dry), but he practically pissed himself on the next brake test in the wet. After that, the instructors couldn't get him to drive over 50km/h. They had to hop in the passenger seat and lean across and stomp on the accelerator to get the car going fast enough.

Unfortunately, the first time most new drivers get to try out their brakes in the wet is when they are about to slide into the back of a bus.

My home office looks out over a fairly busy suburban street. Over the last few days, I have watched and listened to some cars powering up the street in the bucketing rain. You can hear them coming from a block away - first the "doof doof" and then the howling engine. These dickheads are doing perhaps 80 in a 50 zone - when visibility is low and the roads are as slippery as glass.

Darwin Awards - every one of them.

Heck, I knew I forgot something. I have a book on car safety somewhere and it noted that a lot of the fall in the death rate can be explained by better medical care post-crash. Instead of people dying, they end up in a wheelchair or as a vegetable instead. The roads are not necessarily safer - just concentrating on the death rate is silly. It makes for nice headlines, but it is not the whole story.

I read somewhere that a similar factor has reduced the murder rate in the UK. More people are being assaulted and stabbed and shot, but thanks to improved trauma care, they survive. In the 1960's, less people were stabbed, but a higher percentage bled out.

Your comments on driving in the rain reminded me of a recent downpour here in Southern Spain.

1st June 2006: Torrential rain starts to fall at about 0500 CET and continues until 1300. The Costa del Sol 'autovia' A-7 becomes a nightmare as a mixture of overconfident and inexperienced drivers of all nationalities start to get it badly wrong.

I was delivering magazines that day and set off from home at 0800. I travelled the 75km to the office and passed over 15 accidents on the way there and back with the magazines on board.

It quickly became obvious that the vans tyre tread was low as I experienced a minor skid at low speed on a mountain bend (Fall off and it's a drop of 50 to 100m). Later inspection showed a tread depth of 3.5mm (legal limit here is 1.8mm).

I'm probably in the top <0.1% of drivers in Spain - I have a string of advanced driver training courses from 1994 onwards. Each course seems to have a slightly different focus, be it long distance driving, wet weather driving. I haven´t yet seen a course that covers it all - that's what turning theory into practise and experience is all about.

I still learning new things after 25 years. Though I know people drive like idiots the world over.

The comments to this entry are closed.