Saturday, May 4, 2019

Must be the road's fault

I drove past this crash on SH1 at Hatepe on my way north this morning.  Head-on between a van and a truck, and looked like a second truck had been driven off the road to try and avoid adding to the carnage.  I came through five hours after it happened, by which time they were down to towing the trucks out of the way.  Road was still pretty much blocked, stop-go team was directing traffic along the north-bound hard shoulder.

Newshub this evening had people on to draw irrational connections with other crashes in the area, as though there were some great mystery in road deaths not being uniformly distributed, and to conclude that Something Really Must Be Done about NZ's roads.

Well, yes our roads aren't particularly good, but that stretch of highway at Hatepe is a good wide piece of road without sharp curves or blind corners.  The road contributed in no conceivable way to this crash - either someone was grossly distracted, had a medical emergency or had fallen asleep.

Blathering on about how the government needs to do something about our roads might be comforting for the intellectually under-powered, but the rash of recent fatalities suggests two way more important problems:

1. People not wearing seatbelts, and worse, not securing their children.

2. People driving when fatigued, and Road Transport NZ your membership bears a big responsibility for that. Stop killing truck drivers, you murdering fucks.


Lord Egbut Nobacon said...

Each country has it's own unique reasons for road accidents and now I'm beginning to wonder if NZ's preponderance of 4x4's particularly the unhandy utes has anything to do with it.

Almost every photo I have seen over the last year or two features an old Japanese ute (although not in this case). These are not meant to be driven like normal vehicles particularly the older models with live axles and evasive action or quick correction is impossible without turning over.......I guess it's a macho thing.

A few years ago my beef was with the appalling driving habits of the Northland logging trucks tailgating....a quick phone call to the number on the side of the truck soon fixed that............I was told to fuck off.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Truckies have a lot of common sense.

Psycho Milt said...

Northland logging trucks are now famous for their owners' unwillingness to abide by basic safety standards, thanks to Shane Jones. Makes me fucking glad I don't drive up there.

Anonymous said...

I commented on the other two big Taupo crashes in todays KB General Debate. They were all driver fault issues. And neither of them were SUVs.

pdm said...

Milt the current government and Julie Ann Genter in particular seem to want to take it on themselves to make roads safer but are having a reverse affect.

SH2 between Waipukurau and Hastings is a prime example. This road is now more dangerous than when I first started driving it in 1961. The latest crazy idea is to remove some passing lanes which is stupidity at its worst - this stretch of road needs more passing lanes not fewer.

They do not seem to consult with locals who know the area but if they contact me I can tell them where a couple of new passing lanes each way would be beneficial and reduce traffic congestion on the route.

Snowflake said...

Passing lanes don’t reduce congestion, they make it worse. They also don’t make the roads safer. Dividing the road works, so morons can’t do homocidal overtaking manoeuvres .

Psycho Milt said...

Dividing the road works, so morons can’t do homocidal overtaking manoeuvres.

Median dividers work because they prevent crashes like these recent ones in the central North Island, in which someone ends up on the wrong side of the road due to falling asleep, being distracted or various other reasons. They do not work by preventing people from overtaking, because that has almost no safety benefit. Very few crashes in this country involve overtaking vehicles.

Paulus said...

It is reported by the crash removal people that the crash last week near Taupo had possibly a contributory cause as a result of the van having bald tyres, passengers not wearing seat belts and the vehicle not warranted - therefore having no WOF.
Sad - but what about the innocent other party and her family ?

Psycho Milt said...

The latest crazy idea is to remove some passing lanes which is stupidity at its worst...

It depends. Three passing lanes have been removed from SH1 between Levin and Wellington in the decades I've been driving that road, all for good reasons. The north-bound one immediately south of Levin was too short and ended in a corner right before a small town and intersection, the southbound one immediately north of Waikanae regularly used to clog up with the traffic queue into Waikane, and the southbound one on the coastal strip between Paekakariki and Pukerua Bay used to scare the shit out of me every time I used it. The road is safer without them. I don't know whether SH2 would be safer without the ones proposed to be removed, but it's not necessarily a bad thing, especially if they make the remaining passing lanes longer as well.

pdm said...

Snowflake 10.24 - go back to sleep. This is way beyond your level of comprehension.

`They do not work by preventing people from overtaking, because that has almost no safety benefit. Very few crashes in this country involve overtaking vehicles.'

Exactly Milt - they have put some dividers on the Paki Paki to Napier expressway. mrspdm and I went for a look a couple of weeks ago as it is not a stretch of road we usually use. We were 4 or 5 cars back behind a tractor and you could see the steam rising from the cars ahead of us because the barriers prevented safe passing. Anger creates dangerous driving and we took the first opportunity to turn off..

As regards one of the passing lanes being removed between Hastings and Waipukurau it is completely safe and as far as I am aware there has been only one fatality since it was installed - there were more before though.

Anonymous said...

PM the local word on the latest crash is it was builders tired & hungover from the night before on their way to work, crossing the median.

If LTNZ had been able to put in the d3viation from the top of Hatepe hill we would have a safe road that avoids a lot of dangerous road around bully point and further south. Sadly a combination of Maori intransigence (The route crosses Maori land) and Greens in power we will just see more crashes and deaths on that stretch.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous - it is actually the other way around
The Maori landowners want the road to go from the top of Hatepe Hill to Rangipo as a high level road following the power pylon route. They can see big benfits and it would be able to be built without interrupting traffic. It is NZTA that want to do the low level road in drips and drabs.
And the money to build the new road or even just fix the old one isn't there now. That is why Tauranga Taupo Bridge hasn't been fixed. It isn't even on the long term plan.

Anonymous said...

Here is the Hatepe to Rangipo in the 2017 NZTA plan (Option 8) with a good benefit to cost ratio
While no mention at all of any roading works in the 2019 plan.
What has changed, other than the government?

Psycho Milt said...

That's not a plan, it's a business case with various options, one of which was one you'd like to see implemented. The previous government made no plans to implement it and neither has this one. It's not a party political issue, and most definitely not a Māori vs Pākeha issue.

Apart from all that, the crash I wrote about occurred on the stretch of road running along the top of Hatepe hill, ie not the stretch of road mentioned in this plan. It's a flat, wide road with only large-radius curves on it, so the state of NZ's roads is completely, utterly irrelevant to that crash - it was almost certainly caused by fatigue, distraction, or similar - nothing to do with the road.