So I was sitting in the rear of my friend’s car the other night being driven home after a rather fun day out. That’s when the conversation in the front seats took a turn that made my stomach turn. “Have you ever got a [speeding] ticket?” The passenger seat asked.
“Yeah, plenty.” The driver replies. “I don’t speed when I’m driving with others, but I do when I’m on my own. I even nearly lost my license once because I was just under the 40km over limit. I like to drive fast, so yeah I’ve gotten a lot of tickets.”
She says this in such a blazay, confident tone. No remorse. No thought. It made me mad. It made me angry. I know I just repeated the same thing twice, but I’m still that mad-4 weeks later. Mad enough to write this post on why I got mad. And I’ve never even lost anyone to speeding, so this is just the thoughts of a regular ‘other road user who doesn’t speed’ person.
Here’s why people who speed are either stupid, uncaring, or both.
Option One: They speed because they’re stupid.
These are the people who have thought about whether their driving faster than the limit is dangerous or unfair to other people, and concluded that it is not. They are too stupid and egotistical to understand that as a human their reaction times are only so fast, and the faster they go the less time they could have to save another person’s life. They are too stupid to understand that the speed limit is 60 km in this area because there is a rural school nearby with lots of kids who could run out onto the road at any second, or that driveways come out onto the sparsely populated 80km road just around this next corner. They are too stupid to understand that speeding affects stopping distance-both the distance traveled during reaction time AND the distance traveled after the brakes are applied.
They are too stupid to understand that they are violating other drivers risk acceptances-that is to say, as a driver I accept the risk inherent to myself when driving along an 80km road. I DO NOT accept the risk inherent in somebody else driving that road with me at 100km. They are putting me in more danger than I have agreed to. And here’s why an extra 20km’s actually makes a difference:
Example 1: The driveway around the corner (it’s not that the corner is sharp or too hard to keep your rally car on, it’s that you can’t see what’s around it).
As you can see, to pull out of my driveway in the morning I must go across the road with my car. Usually this isn’t a problem, other drivers are going the limit and provided that the coast is clear before I pull out, I can get across safely even when someone comes around the bend just as I hit the accelerator to cross.
But then there are the mornings that I nearly die on. And before anyone says anything, I live rurally, which means machinery noise often, which means I can’t do the hearing test effectively to check if there is a car coming. Anyways there are the mornings (and evenings) that I pull out with the coast clear and then some toon comes racing around the corner at 105km. They think it’s a rural, empty looking road. They think there are few houses. They think my life doesn’t matter, to me, to my family, or to my friends. They are too stupid to realize that they nearly killed me. They screech on the breaks and narrowly miss my car. I pray they will always miss.
Reason 2: Children
Look, honestly, children are stupid too-but excusably-ish so. And yes, kids do live on those outback roads, and yes kids do sneak out and run around at night sometimes-and sometimes this is on the road. Most people won’t speed in the suburbs, they’re smart enough to at least understand that that is stupid, but give them a rural road and they’ll go all out. Well when you’re looking at the 5 year old whose whole life you just ended. When you’re looking at the Dad who never got to threaten his daughter’s first boyfriend with a shotgun, or the mother holding that small boys sweatshirt, I hope you realize the little extra fun that driving faster provides isn’t worth it, or fair to others whose lives you could change irrevocably. We as a society accept the risks up to the point of the speed limit, beyond that you are personally making a decision to put other people in more danger than they are agreeing to. I hope as you look at a grieving family you finally understand that having that 7 extra seconds could have made a difference to somebody.
So there we have it, just a couple of reasons why speeding is stupid. I’m sure there are lots more, as around 1,430 road accidents are caused in New Zealand alone each year by speeding. So save a life, please, don’t speed. These ‘stupid and egotistical’ category people are the ones I have the most tolerance for, because they can be informed. They can choose to live better and be a different person. Hats off to you if you make that choice today.
Option Two: The Uncaring person.
This is the person who is aware that their driving faster than the limit puts other people’s lives in more danger, and doesn’t care. This is the person that doesn’t care that they are increasing the risk that you won’t ever see your sister or brother or best friend or spouse again. They just don’t care. I have a low to zero tolerance for these people. They are the reason why I think speeding should carry much heavier penalties. If somebody is speeding and as a result causes an accident that kills someone, they will be charged with manslaughter and the accompanying penalties. If somebody is caught speeding, have they not committed the same amount of wrongdoing, but just got luckier than the other person?? To ensure that literally only the uncaring people who fit into this category are the ones who get penalized, it’d be great to see more education in schools around WHY speeding is a danger to others.
Option Three: The people who are a little bit of both, both stupid and uncaring.
They have never taken the time to think about how their actions behind the wheel of an object that kills many people every year affects the lives of others.
I’d place these guys above the uncarers and below the stupid in terms of tolerance towards them.
So to everyone who speeds. Please don’t. If you’ve recently, even in the last 2 minutes decided to stop speeding, or you just have never been a speeder. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the lives you may unknowlingly save.
Good night and safe travels folks *hug*
*As always, I appreciate your thoughts and opinions. Let me know what you think!!*
*Note: Honestly, I love a good drive. And on and only on a perfectly straight otherwise 100km speed limit road, I’d appreciate it if they removed the limit, I can’t see any added danger to anyone in going 110km plus.*