Thursday, 16 March 2017

Road accident

This morning we were fretting over an unusual tailback of traffic before we realised it was due to an accident about fifty yards further on. A recent collision between a car and a motorcycle, both badly damaged and the motorcyclist still lying in the road.

It was broad daylight, dry and impossible to see who may have been at fault. Although road accidents are far more common than they ought to be, the sight of one is an extremely sobering reminder of perspectives.

From one perspective drivers often criticise the endless petty restrictions, prohibitions and warnings which are a part their lives. I certainly do. The criticisms are usually valid too, because much of the time driving is a frustrating, almost humiliating chore.

Yet from another perspective serious road accidents are personal disasters which ripple out from a moment of inattention and damage lives, sometimes permanently. The pressure to minimise them is entirely understandable. 


The Jannie said...

We saw the aftermath of an incident this afternoon, ambulance in attendance, blue lights on, large motorcycle parked on the pavement. That apart, I am convinced that driving ability and awareness have been bred out of today's drivers. They are so bombarded with instructions, road signs, traffic lights, revenue cameras and so on that if there is no sign to tell them what to do they don't know what to do. There are videos on Youtube showing roundabouts in "undeveloped" countries with numerous entrances and exits. Traffic flows into and out of them at considerable speed; collisions are rare.This, in my opinion, is because there are no signs and no white lines but every driver has worthwhile spatial awareness and, if not top-notch driving ability, a desire for self-preservation which relies on his own actions.

wiggiatlarge said...

I have only seen an accident actually happen once in my life and it lives with me, whilst touring in Germany in the early sixties a car on the autobahn came through the central reservation (just shrubs then) hit a car head on.
At a time of no seat belts both occupants were catapulted through the windscreen and the sight of that poor dead woman on the concrete with her life contents of her handbag strewn around her and her clothing ripped all in a pool of blood was sobering to say the least, I have seen like most many aftermaths but the actual life snuffing of that event was imprinted for further reference.

Demetrius said...

On the one hand we have vehicles that are far superior to those of the past and packed with added items. On the other we have drivers these days whose diet etc. is often packed with content designed to hype up the brain one way or another. Add a media full of crash bang high speed wallop and you have roads with a lot of risk taking fast moving drivers on them. Some of the motor cycles I see these days in the hands of teenagers and young 20's would have won the old TT races of the case with ease.

pen seive said...

As a retired Police officer who spent more time than I would have liked, attending road traffic collisions, the patience of vehicle occupants who are delayed from their journeys because of the necessary actions by the emergency services, never ceases to amaze me. First of all, there is the time spent getting to the scene, there is the time spent assessing injuries, and sometimes emergency medical treatment at the scene, protecting the scene for evidence, then arranging ambulance passage for the injured (or deceased), clearing the scene, obtaining witness details and brief outlines of their recollections while the facts are still fresh in their memories (in major collisions there may be quite a few people to be interviews). All of this takes time, especially as these interviews have to be dealt with compassionately yet professionally.
Finally, when the road is cleared, the ambulances have gone, the road is clear, and traffic restarted, to have people shouting, "Lazy w*nkers", "Took your f*cking time, didn't you?", and similar epithets as they drive past on their way to the more important aspects of their lives really made me appreciate the understanding of my fellow man (and woman).
So glad I'm now out of it, though I still meet motorists of that ilk most days, sadly.

Curmudgeon said...

But all too often there's a "something must be done" attitude which leads to restrictions being imposed as a kneejerk reaction that wouldn't have had any bearing on the incident in question.

It's like cutting a speed limit from 40 to 30 because someone came to grief doing 80, while also drunk and uninsured.

A K Haart said...

Jannie - I've seen videos of apparently chaotic but accident-free traffic in other countries, but UK road death rates seem to be very low when compared internationally. Oddly enough, when I used to commute through the centre of Nottingham every day, the traffic seemed to run more smoothly when traffic lights failed, even at major cross-roads.

Wiggia - that sounds horrendous. Some events mark you for life such that your outlook is never quite the same as it was before.

Demetrius - only this morning we saw a young lad who had taken to the road on a kid's scooter. He was enjoying himself by hurtling down a steep hill when he suddenly caught sight of his mate on the other side of the road and veered across without looking. He didn't know I was behind him but fortunately I held back because I knew he was likely to do something stupid.

pen sieve - I'm not surprised. Cars do something to people and crowded roads seem to make it worse. Years ago a retired police officer worked for me doing a driving job and he had lots of stories about his time with the police. One thing he preferred not to talk about was motorway patrol work, it was just too grim.

A K Haart said...

Curmudgeon - we see a lot of that and sometimes genuine improvements don't happen. A few years ago there was a nearby school on the road out of town where the speed limit changed from 30 to 40 about 50 feet before the school entrance. It was like that for years before the obvious change was made.

wiggiatlarge said...

Just an aside to show how we all react differently in different situations, before I briefly raced cars I was a gofer to my oldest friend who raced motorcycles and I attended many meetings with him.
I always had the utmost respect for the motorcyclists of that era when health and safety was not exactly top of the requirement list, but an incident at the old Crystal Palace circuit shows the difference in how one reacts.
There was an unlimited class, any sized engine in one race, and the pits and start line were at the top of the circuit meaning one could see the racing on the bottom straight from there.
After the start the race bunch appeared at the start of the bottom straight and my friend commented "that lot are not going to get through the bend at the end of the straight like that, they didn't and it was the worst accident for fatalities on a British circuit, the right turn at the end of the straight had a concrete wall supporting the ramp to the inside of the circuit if I remember correctly and six riders were killed or seriously hurt in the one crash, all were saddened as friends were lost yet next week all were out there again and little was said, different circumstances different reactions.

A K Haart said...

Wiggia - interesting. Years ago a guy who worked for me raced a motorcycle and sidecar. He rode the bike while his wife was in the sidecar. Extremely hairy from the sound of it.