It's not just about you!

Crashes happen when someone does the wrong thing!

Think about it, if everyone is doing the right thing accidents don't happen! So a crash on the road is always caused by someone doing the wrong thing and sometimes no matter what you do that crash is going to happen and you're going to be involved even though you did nothing wrong. But most of the time it requires a second person, YOU, to not be paying attention.

Observation is key!

The sooner you see it coming the more time and opportunity you have to get out of the way and keep yourself safe. Good observation could save your life! One example I've seen a couple of times: Just because you have a green light does not mean the other guy has stopped for his red light, especially trucks on Anzac Ave and James St, so check just to make sure.

 

Observation at speed!

One thing we really need to consider is the speed we are used to seeing things. The average walking speed is 5kph, that's about 1.3m per second. If you go for a walk you'll probably find that you look down at the ground somewhere between 1m and 2m ahead of you, giving you approximately 1 second to adjust your path, alter your pacing to enable you step over something or come to a complete stop. It takes you only one or two steps to pull this off, plenty of time all around.

As we grow up some of get bikes and ride quite a bit, thankfully we are designed to be adaptive to our surroundings and so as we increase our speed we learn to look further ahead, I would suggest that a bikes average is 40kph or 11m per second. You'd want to be looking ahead at least 10m ahead of you because changing course or stopping would also take a little longer.

A car however will be travelling an average of 50-60kph up to 16.5m per second, and with a highest speed of 110kph or 30.5m per second. The more challenging aspect of driving though is that you can't correct your course to the same degree as you can walking or cycling, you are just too big! Stopping is also a bigger problem as you are too heavy and your momentum will carry you far. Your observation needs to be high and far ahead, not just to the car in front of you, but as far as you can. Look ahead for traffic lights, signs, people, cars, animals, children playing ball in their yard or anything out of place. You must also engage your peripheral vision so you can get more information about your surroundings.

A good trick to keep your peripheral vision engaged is to not focus on anything too long, try not to read the funny stickers on the back of the car in front, read signs quickly and then move on. Basically keep your eyes moving, always looking for something you need to notice.

Texting!

Sending a simple text "Almost there" can take 30 seconds or more, one handed, whilst trying to drive a car, from picking the phone up to putting it back down. At 60kph that will take just short of 500m. That's 500 meters of you not watching the road properly! A lot can happen in just one second, a staggering 16.67m, and the SCARY fact is, if you are texting and haven't seen it coming, you aren't braking; you're still travelling at 60kph...

 

Assumptions are dangerous:

This video really demonstrates why it is important to "look before you leap". It is not safe to assume that a Green Light means it is safe to go, occasionally you'll come across a driver, especially trucks going down hill, that doesn't stop for their Red Light.

My own experience:

This video shows an experience I had, I saw the truck turning and the flat bed coming up the road he needed to turn into, I half expected the truck to swing out to make the corner and that ute was going to be in a difficult position because of that. I'd also seen a glimpse of a vehicle and a motorbike behind the truck and some thing was wrong, some thing told me this was going to go badly. There was no one behind me, so I indicated and pulled over to park at the side of the road and I thank God that I did. The vehicle, a ute, behind the truck decided to overtake and suddenly appeared in front of me. Had I not pulled over I would have heading toward him at about 80kph, at the same time the flat bed decides to go, that would have put him behind me. Both of these vehicles pulled into a BLIND space, totally unable to clearly see where they were going, had I been in the middle of that and accident would likely have happened.

What got me more frustrated is, after seeing this near collision, a second vehicle, another ute, pulls out into a BLIND space.  Had that motorbike been moving around the truck or been going any faster that would have been an accident for sure.

Don't play with people:

This video really demonstrates a principle I keep trying to explain to people. You shouldn't play with the traffic! The ute you see at the beginning doesn't really do anything illegal, but he does play with the car that wants to be in the lead. In the first instance you can see the ute speeds up to secure his position rather than backing off to allow the speeding car to just go. The law does not expect him to but it certainly would have been a safer play when you see the end result. He later slows down and blocks the car from passing, this choice could have cost him his life!