SLOW DOWN: Virseker Insurance claims the faster you drive, the more likely you won't survive a high-speed crash.Image: Phillip Hull
Cape Town - When you drive too fast, you and your car are a lethal force that threatens the lives of every road-user who has the misfortune of sharing the road with you.
Not only does speeding significantly impair your ability to steer safely around corners and objects in the road, it drastically reduces the time you have available to react to a dangerous situation, thus increasing your chances of crashing.
Between 2014 and 2016, the JMPD arrested 1670 drivers for travelling at more than 40km/h over the speed limit in 80km/h or 100km/h zones. During the same time period, 667 drivers were arrested for speeding at over 160km/h.
Arrests on the spot
This is according to the head of JMPD, Wayne Minnaar, who says that performance enhanced vehicles and illegal street races remain problem and that some of the speedsters they’ve arrested were travelling at speeds in excess of 230km/h.
“Substantial fines aside, doing more than 40km/h over the speed limit will get you arrested on the spot”, says Minnaar. “Depending on the severity of your infringement, you could face fines of up to R20 000 or even time behind bars.”
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READ: Speed signs in SA - Here's all you need to know
Dawid Botha, spokesperson for insurer Virseker, says: "According to the World Health Organisation, the likelihood of death in a crash with an 80km/h impact speed is 20 times higher than that in a crash with a 30km/h impact speed. The faster you drive, the greater the impact will be when you hit something, whether it be another car, a tree, a barrier or wall. In essence, you need to slow down if you want to reduce your chances of being fatally injured in a crash."
Popular UK motoring series, Fifth Gear, published a video of a crash at 120mph, or 193km/h – a speed easily attainable by even mid-range modern vehicles - that shows the devastating effect on the vehicle involved.
"Whilst most modern cars have some very impressive safety features, most of these are rendered completely useless at higher speeds”, says Botha. “One example is that of the fatal 2015 Golf 7 R crash in Middelburg, Mpumalanga.”
Virseker offers the following tips:
1. Play by the rules. Always be aware of what the speed limit is for a specific area and stick to it. Set your vehicle’s speed warning or limiter if it has one.
2. Be on the lookout for speedsters approaching – drive defensively and always be aware of your surroundings.
3. Invest in a vehicle with a high NCAP rating and good safety features, such as side-impact protection bars and airbags, to offer an extra line of defence.
4. Make sure that your vehicle is well serviced and maintained to ensure optimal handling in a crisis.
5. If possible, take down the details of a speedster’s vehicle and report this to authorities.
6. Ensure that your vehicle is adequately insured, in case you become a victim, and always have the necessary emergency numbers on hand.
Botha says: "If you have a passion for fast cars and an insatiable need for speed, rather find your outlet at track days, advanced driving courses, karting circuits and even simulators than on the road. Once the damage has been done, a person has been injured, disabled or even killed, you’ll realise that the thrill isn’t worth it, but by then it’ll be too late."