Monday, May 14, 2012

New Zealand: Additional Thoughts on Road Hazards from a Reader


In response to yesterday's posting on the tragic road accident involving the death of three Boston University students, my thanks go out to Elizabeth @ brickhouse10@xtra.co.nz for giving us a New Zealander's perspective on road hazards.

I have to add to your New Zealand roads post the following, which I have posted elsewhere:
  • New Zealand roads are not like those in North America or Europe; they are narrow, curvy and two-way.
  • They are narrow, curvy and two-lane, mostly.
  • They are designed poorly, not accounting for sun glare, which is severe.
  • Few of them have shoulders. Just crumbly gravel edges, easy to plunge over, no guard rails.
  • Kiwis are impatient and aggressive drivers, passing in places they should not.
  • There is a lot of rain and wind, and cars sitting high on their axles (SUVs, vans) are more unstable in these conditions.
  • Kiwis have high rates of drink driving and cannabis use per capita. School bus drivers, lorry drivers and adventure tourism operators should be drug tested and are not.
  • Cyclists also use the roads (no shoulders, remember), and with some Kiwi ramming his car up your bum you can't slow down and don't dare pass them.
  • Many roads are elevated with few guard rails, thus increasing the risk.
I swerved to avoid a wild pig some years ago and my minivan flipped over the edge of the road after the gravel edge collapsed. I had to climb out through broken glass in the rear window as I was trapped inside the car with petrol spilling out. I am happy to have made it out alive and able to celebrate Mother's Day today. :)

I see you are in Traverse City. I have friends in Cedar. Lovely area.

Happy life to you.