Unnecessary risks holiday theme


Unnecessary risks.

This was the phrase used by police acting national road policing manager Inspector Peter McKennie to describe what drivers took over the holiday period.

In New Zealand alone, there were 11 fatalities.

What saddened me most was nearly half were not wearing a seatbelt.

Something so simple, yet it is by far the best safety device in a car.

If they had just taken a tick to make the seatbelt click, they might still be alive today.

I drove to the West Coast and Invercargill over the festive period and, to be fair, most of the people we came across were driving safely.

We did, however, have an aggressive tailgater, who was that close to the back of our car, I thought they wanted to hook up to our towbar to save on petrol.

But how do you reach these people to get them to back off or slow down?

I often look at drivers and put them into one of three categories: the first is people who believe that this message isn’t for them.

No matter what headlines are in the news, on the radio or TV, they think that nothing will happen to them.

Or is it a case of them not thinking at all? They often think a driving licence is a right and not a privilege.

These people are the ones who need enforcement action taken against them and their failings pointed out, along with a fine and demerit points.

The next category of people, I describe as floaters.

People who want to do the right thing, and if they see or hear good advice – they take it and act on it.

They may be proactive in keeping their car safe by getting a warrant of fitness and service regularly.

However, they can easily move down a category by talking or texting on their phone while driving, or by accidentally making a habit of driving at 60kmh in a 50kmh zone.

By far the best category of drivers are those that want to make a difference and actively seek out ways to improve things.

There aren’t many people in this category, but we are very lucky to have these people around us.

One such organisation, Waitaki Road Safe, works with the Waitaki District Council and police to carry out fatigue stops and to remind those travelling to take breaks, and by doing so, they help to keep us all a little safer.

They also hold cycling fun days to help educate the district’s young people to ride safely and to build the confidence of those riders.

The next Cycling Fun Day will be held tomorrow, at Takaro Park in Oamaru. Registration will open at 12.45pm.

So, in closing – what category of driver are you?

Drive safe, Waitaki.

  • Jason Evered is the Waitaki District Council road safety co-ordinator.