An Accident Waiting To Happen?

The weekend of the 9th June saw my wife and I travelling up and down the North South Expressway (NSE), from Johor Bahru (JB) and back, with Kuala Pilah and Putrajaya forming part of the itinerary.

North South Expressway, from Bukit Kayu Hitam (N) to Johor Bahru (S)(source : Wikipedia)

The plan was to send our son back to college for the new semester and then a sleepover at my beloved mother’s house in Putrajaya with a few errands in Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Shah Alam thrown in as well. As our schedule was quite a busy one, we decided to make the drive back to JB at night. In preparation for the drive home, we took a short nap and a shower so as to get rid of the cobwebs of fatigue.

For those of us who have travelled up and down the NSE, especially at night, we have come to know what to expect. But despite knowing what to expect, the multitude of cars and the many F1 wannabe drivers never seems to amaze me whenever I make a journey up and down the NSE, be it for a long distance drive or a short distance one.

From my observations, the general speed limit of 110km per hr is often ignored especially when overtaking, what more the 90km per hr for the Simpang Ampat-Air Keroh stretch. Not many people pay heed to these speed limits, so much so that it does make you wonder whether it’s just best to forego having speed limits and leave these devil-may-care drivers to their own devices.

With speeding comes tailgating, naturally. These drivers would come from far behind to flash their headlights to make you get out of their way and woe is you if you do not heed their incessant flashing of headlights. These devils will drive so close to you that if you should suddenly had to apply the emergency brakes for some reason or another, chances are that you may be involved in a chain of crashes.

North South Highway (Air Keroh – Simpang Ampat stretch), heading towards Kuala Lumpur (source : Wikipedia)

As for me, it’s really already annoying to see that the devils driving maniacally are young Malaysians in their 20s and early 30s, and some still with P stickers but it’s especially annoying to see Singapore-registered cars doing this as well. But as I have driven before in the island republic, it should not be a wonder as there, they too ignore the speed limits, what more when you have a long stretch of highway as we have here in Malaysia. Talk about ugly Malaysian drivers, these Singaporean drivers can make our ugly Malaysian drivers look angelic instead.

But as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Next time, take a drive on the NSE from KL all the way down to JB and you’ll know what I mean.

If these F1 wannabes are bad enough, wait til a bus or a lorry comes along. Admittedly, most of the bus and lorry drivers take great care in their driving and are very well aware that should an accident happen involving their vehicles, they will be the first to be looked at by the authorities. But once or twice or thrice in a while, you will get a F1 wannabe behind the wheels of these buses or lorries. When that happens, its best to get out of their way and let them through with a little prayer for those passengers in them buses.

The authorities make the bus and transport companies paste a sticker behind their respective vehicles, printing the contact details of the authorities should we want to report any irresponsible and dangerous driving on the part of these drivers. But seriously, how many of us are able to jot these numbers down as they zoom past you?

And it does also make you wonder, would any corrective measures be taken should you make a complaint? Or would you get an unwanted escort the next time you are on the highway if you were to make a one?

I remember a time in the 1980s when civil servants of a certain rank were authorized, under the condition of anonymity, to report instances of dangerous driving. This was done as a mean to reduce road accidents through an increase in the enforcement of the law on the roads.

The theory was that, based on these reports, action will then be taken against these drivers for dangerous driving. To make the roads safer for the road users, so to speak. It worked well until one fine day, a civil servant, after making such a report, received a telephone call from the owner of a vehicle the civil servant had reported to the authorities. Of course, all hell broke loose as the condition of anonymity was busted. An inside job?

The relevant authorities best note that accidents do not only happen during festive seasons but also during off festive seasons. It is pointless to compile statistics of accidents happening during the Ops Sikap season when the same number of accidents can be recorded when there is no Ops Sikap.

Personally, I do think its high time for the authorities to take REAL action before it’s too late. Before you get a 30-car pile up with almost the same number or more, dead. And the dead are not all passengers of a bus, mind you. The thought would hurt especially the dead maybe your kin and family.

And when that happens, what then? Another study? Who are you going to blame? The guardrails? Get these devils off the roads now. More cameras on the expressways, if need be.

Or better still, bring back the road blocks and the speed traps. And if the authorities do conduct a speed trap, please vary the locations and timing. Try to not be so predictable. And as most people speed in the dead of the night, if need be then let’s have them after midnight. A little overtime for the people manning the road blocks? I’m sure the authorities can afford it.

Please, do this before it becomes a reality. All in the name of road safety.




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