When you hear a strange noise at 1.15 in the morning it tends to get your imagination going overtime. First I thought that something had fallen over outside; then that a gate could be banging. After checking those two (through the window) my mind went into overtime- is someone trying to break into the garage?
It is strange that whenever I think that there could be an undesirable on the property the first thing I do is unlock the door to have a look!
Upon walking up to the garage the real reason for the loud noise became apparent- there had been yet another accident on Kommetjie Road. This time at 18th Avenue, on the Fish Hoek bound side of the road (just where the center island for the dual carriage way comes to an end.)
There was already a large crowd down there and as I walked down the road I started to hear a woman in severe distress. I figured that the last thing that the scene needed was someone else getting in the way so I crossed the road to talk to one of my neighbours.
Now, I have to say I don’t know anything about the details of what happened, only tell you what I saw and what others said. This is what the situation was at this point. A neighbour said that the woman had been thrown from the car upon impact but it was not clear how many vehicles were involved. There were a couple of taxis stopped on the Kommetjie bound side but none of them looked like they had been hit by anything. Others stopped while we stood. Plenty of vehicles were near the accident but the feeling was that they had stopped to help. This led me to believe (in conjunction with the the noise I heard) that the accident had not involved two vehicles hitting each other, though I cannot say that others were not involved in some way.
What I do know is that it is time to stop trying to blame accidents on Kommetjie Road itself!
While we were stood my neighbour did her best to flag cars to warn them of the accident. To a one they were all tearing down the road at high speed.
The Fish Hoek end of Kommetjie Road does have a lot of entances on it, however, from 17th Avenue west the road is fairly straight, wide and at 1 in the morning not busy. The road surface is one of the best in the area, and it hadn’t been raining.
Kommetjie road isn’t dangerous, but the people using it are deadly!
Accidents on Kommetie Road happen because people get behind the wheel of a car, turn on the ignition and turn off their brains!
This morning I took another walk down the road to see what damage had been done (usually a telling thing in working out what happened). The car involved looked like a small one. And yet it managed to destroy a concrete wall and knock a tree down.
Looking at the road and damage to the tree and wall, and marks on the road and curb it appears that something happened on the west bound side of the road that caused the vehicle to vere to the right, mount the curb, smash through the tree, hit the wall and spin into another tree with enough force to remove the bark and some of the trunk.
If the average small car hit the wall at 60 kph it would maybe knock the wall down, but there would not be enough energy involved to knock down a tree first. I’m not even convinced that there would be enough energy to even knock the wall down after mounting the pavement (especially as the collision could not have been head on).
So straight away we can presume that the vehicle was driving at considerable speed.
Next- the injured woman had been thrown from the vehicle. This is not likely to happen if the person is wearing a seat belt (which is the law front and back).
Other things that regularly occur on Kommetjie Road (especially in the early hours) are cars racing each other, people driving in unsafe vehicles, with no lights (no kidding, the other week a car was pulled over by the police opposite our house that had tyres so worn you could see metal, shock absorbers so bad that the car leaned into one corner, more rust than body work and after it stopped couldn’t get going again- oh, and none of the lights worked).
Throw alcohol and drugs into the mix and we have recipe for disaster.
Where in all that is Kommetjie Road to blame?
All the accidents that are caused by road layouts etc tend to be fender benders with minimal injuries to those involved (unless you count massive insurance hikes as serious injuries). The fatal accidents all involve someone being an inconsiderate idiot in some way or another.
It isn’t just Kommetjie Road (I think it is just an increase in traffic on the road that hikes its stats) it is the road network in general. Until we start taking driving seriously fatalities will increase. I read a letter recently in the paper written by someone who was upset at failing their license and the steep costs involved. When did it become our right to be able to drive. Its a huge privelage, and if you don’t respect that you should have your license removed. And I am not talking about major infringements either. Speeding should lead to a refresher course, second time- lose your license. Could you imagine flying being treated so flippantly?
Compulsory MOT (like in the UK) and jail time for people who drive without the proper documentation (road license, drivers license, MOT and insurance). You can now pay your traffic fines at the supermarket checkout- this makes it a tax not a punishment.
It is time to stop pointing fingers at government, law enforcement, and roads and start pointing the finger at ourselves so that we can stop doing the stupid things that are done everyday on our transport network. WE cause the accidents on Kommetjie Road, not the road itself.