The weekend’s triple fatality in Turangi might not have occurred if the road had been built correctly, says a leading road safety campaigner.
Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of the car review website dogandlemon.com, says:
“It’s been known for decades that if the edge of a road drops down into gravel, then vehicles that drift over the edge of the road are likely to drop one wheel into gravel, slide and then lose control. That appears to be exactly what happened with the Turangi tragedy.”
“One way of avoiding such tragedies is to extend the asphalt about 300mm beyond the edge of the white line at the side of the road. This means that a vehicle is less likely to drop straight onto gravel if it drifts past the white line. The other way of avoiding such tragedies is to put a rumble strip near the edge of the road, so that the driver is alerted before he drifts off into danger.”
“While the details of this crash are still sketchy, it appears that poor road design has contributed to this tragedy. It’s possible that the accident would not have occurred at all if the road had been built with safety as a higher priority.”
“The government’s own studies show that simple modifications such as rumble strips can drastically reduce road crashes, yet most roads don’t have rumble strips. The government needs to slow down its plans for new roads and instead fix up the existing ones.”
"Road fatalities are the result of a chain of causes and effects. If you can remove a single link in this chain, you can often stop human error turning into human tragedy."
“The AA estimates that relatively simple road improvement measures could prevent up to 90 road deaths per year. That’s nearly a third of the current road toll.”
• According to the AA:
“Many road deaths could be avoided by fixing and upgrading roads with simple and relatively inexpensive engineering solutions such as rumble strips, median and roadside barriers, and improved road marking.”