Editorial: Cutting the risks of having a crash

WARWICK RASMUSSEN - DEPUTY EDITOR
Last updated 12:00 19/11/2012
French tourist car crash
WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ
Off road: A French tourist talks with a police officer after the crash.

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OPINION: No two crashes are the same.

There may be similar elements, but the factors always seem to vary.

Who knows how many close calls there are on our region's roads each day; it doesn't bear thinking about.

The crashes that gain the most attention, of course, are the ones where someone has died.

But it isn't just those kinds of terrible crashes that change lives. The less serious incidents - which are still awful scenes - can alter people's lives forever.

From Friday to yesterday there were at least four road crashes of varying severity in Manawatu. There were close calls, serious injuries and seemingly everything else in between.

The crash on State Highway 1 which injured all six people involved - two in a station wagon, and four in a four-wheel-drive vehicle that was towing a trailer - was bad enough, but could have been much worse.

That stretch of road south of Sanson is open and fast. Any contact between vehicles along there has the potential to be lethal.

The crash scene was spread over a long distance. Air bags had been deployed, vehicles were destroyed, fuel was spilled all over the road and the wind was blowing belongings all over the place.

It was the kind of sight that is all too familiar for our emergency services workers. They arrive, assess, act promptly, and clean up the mess.

A small percentage of crashes are unavoidable, but the vast majority can be prevented.

The list of common crash factors - speed, alcohol, fatigue, driver inattention - are well known. The recipe for minimising the chances of a crash is not rocket science.

If you remove the chance of those major crash factors, the odds are more and more in your favour.

The latest run of crashes may be a statistical blip, but they are alarming and they damage lives.

With little more than a month until Christmas and New Year holidays it is a timely reminder for all motorists to have their vehicles checked out and to reassess how they are driving. We owe it to ourselves, our families, our friends and the other people we share the roads with.

ONE MORE THING

We've checked in from time to time with little Samual Whittaker, the Palmerston North toddler battling a life-threatening disease. The story has touched many people, who have decided to help him and his family out. It was disturbing, then, to see that his image was being used under dubious circumstances online (see our front page story). It's pretty low using a sick child for what looks like commercial gain. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of the story.

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- Manawatu Standard

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