Roundabouts and road works safe driving call

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I know people are busy, I know some people are very busy.

But judging by a few phone calls and emails I have received over the past few weeks, some people are even too busy to look at the speedo or appreciate a roundabout is coming up.

Particular areas of concern have been Derwent St and the Reed St roundabout.

I have people saying they are watching people coming so fast up behind them that they feel like they are being pushed to go through the roundabout.

So, is the Waitaki district particularly bad in these areas?

I don’t think so. I think it is just a mentality that some of us are in.

It is like once people get into a motor vehicle, all self reasoning goes out the window and they know better than everyone else.

Why do we need to go through the couple of hundred metres of roadworks at 50 or 60kmh — when to keep those workers safe they are asking you to go at 30kmh? It may take five seconds longer, but if the worst was to happen, you and the worker should hopefully be able to go home after the crash.

The lower the speed the less the injuries suffered in a crash.

I have memories of going to crashes as a police officer and one of the first things people would say was, ‘‘I shouldn’t have been going that fast’’.

It’s a strange reaction when speed is under the control of all drivers. But most of us think going 10 or 15kmh over the limit is OK. However, that 10 or 15kmh can be the difference between life and death.

So, what can be done?

We can hope the police are in the right place at the right time to catch people speeding. We also hope they are in the right place at the right time to stop a fight, catch a burglar, see someone stealing something, but they can’t be everywhere.

What we can do is try and help them and narrow down the times and locations of speeders. One way of doing this is through traffic counters (the two black tubes that go across a road).

These clever devices, measure vehicle numbers, speeds, what type of vehicle they are and which direction they are travelling. When we have this information, it gives us a picture of what time the highest speeds are happening.

Yes, that 100kmh in a 50kmh may just be a one-off, but often they show a time when the average speed is much higher and we can give that to the police to help them be in the right place at the right time.

As you drive around the district and you drive over those tubes, just remember you are doing your part in keeping this district safe for everyone.

Drive safer, Waitaki.

Jason Evered is the Waitaki District Council road safety coordinator.