Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Death on the Highway

Wednesday 21st October 2009
Today was probably the quietest day of the year so far at the Café, every shopkeeper in the centre was left wondering where the punters were, let’s hope it’s not a sign of things to come.
Fraser is getting rave reviews from some of his teachers at the moment, todays topic of the month was maths where he has been getting 100% for algebra and is generally getting an A grade for other maths.
This evening Ian and the kids went for a bike ride, this time the garage was open so they all had an ice cream and Kristian made sure they brought his mum home a mint Aero, her favourite.
Marisa got a phone call from one of her admirers tonight, it turns out that he is in the same Scout patrol as her, a patrol that has just been formed because of rising numbers and they are going to have a camp as their first patrol activity, in two weeks time.
The front page of the West Australian had a picture of a mangled car and lorry which had collided on the new bit of highway between Rockingham and Bunbury, it turns out that this is the first accident that involved a fatality on this new stretch of road since it opened, maybe a couple of months ago.
Now the reason we are bringing up this sad subject on the blog today is (1) we haven’t got much else to talk about, and (2) we have found it really hard to describe to people and put into writing how bad the driving is over here, but this time we have decided to bite the bullet and say it as it is.
Now everyone who has ever been to another country where they have roundabouts will recognise that in WA, they just don’t know what a roundabout is there for or how to negotiate it, but once you realise this fact, you can take evasive/precautionary measures and hopefully get from one side of the roundabout to the other unscathed.
The bit that really amazes us and that we can’t get to grips with, is accidents, accidents that quite often end in death or serious injury.
If your level of expertise at driving was based on not having an accident with another vehicle, then the drivers of WA would be the best in the world.
Maybe it’s because the car is their pride and joy, the thing that they cherish above all else, nice and shiny, preferably with a couple of stickers on the back which cause you to take offence and cover the kids eyes if ever you pull up behind one, and most importantly, a five or six litre engine under the bonnet, attached to a couple of girt big exhaust pipes so that it makes a lot of noise, and the funniest part is, it has about as much oomph as a Ford Transit with a blown exhaust and would be left standing by a 1300 Vauxhall Nova.
Anyway, we digress, the reason for this little rant is that you can almost guarantee that at the time of the accident and death on the new bit of highway, there was probably no other vehicle in sight and Ian has come up with a theory as to why this accident happened, it’s because they chopped all the trees down when they built the road.
What is he on about? You might be thinking.
Well it goes something like this, the roads over here are so quiet that you should be able to take a fairly accurate guess on how long it would take you to get from A to B so the chances of getting into any compromising situations is pretty remote.
Because the roads are so quiet and you are not likely to get into an awkward situation which might cause you to collide with another vehicle, you have to find something else to hit and WA drivers are good at that, there are umpteen small crosses by the side of the road that bear witness to it.
Today is the first time in we don’t know how long that we have heard about a fatal accident involving two vehicles that have collided, normally it’s a tree, the favourite pastime over here seems to be let’s see if we can knock a tree over.
Unfortunately for the driver and passengers concerned, they always seem to pick a girt big tree that’s probably been around for a couple of hundred years and intends to hang on for just a bit longer, hence dead occupants in the car and a tree that has got a couple of scratches in its bark.
Why can’t they aim the car at a bush, maybe scratch the paintwork a bit, but what the hell, they could still drive it home and tell their mates how you killed a bush by driving into it at 100kmph while it wasn’t looking and lived to tell the tale, but no they always go for the tree.
Hence, if they hadn’t chopped all the trees down by the side of the new highway, then the vehicles wouldn’t have had to collide because the one that wanted to collide, could have collided with a tree and left the other vehicle unscathed.
Many years ago, Ian had saw a comedian called Jasper Carrot on stage and part of his routine was about some statements received by insurance companies from people claiming for accidents in their cars, bearing in mind that this was probably about thirty years ago, the one claim which Jasper read out that stuck in Ians mind at the time was, “I had to swerve three times before I hit the tree”.
I know, you had to be there to really appreciate it, but it has got Ian wondering whether Australians are the human equivalent of lemmings, but instead of throwing themselves off cliffs, probably because there don’t seem to be many cliffs over here, they drive into trees.
Any death is a sorry tale, over here the roads are good, wide and relatively traffic free, there should be less fatal accidents per head of population than virtually anywhere in the world.

1 comment:

Ganeida said...

Our national death toll from road fatalities is an ongoing grievance. Unfortunately you can't legislate against stupidity. Just the same, have you seen how Indians drive? Man, oh man, I NEVER want to do that again. Do they have road rules in India? Strict;y speaking I saw this in Fiji, but the Fijians drove like sane men & women. The same could not be said for the Indians. Forget PC. I have never been so freaked in my live, not even stuck in peak hour round the Arc d'Triumph with Parisian drivers!