When you drive too fast, you and your car are a lethal force that threatens the lives of every road-user who has the misfortune of sharing the road with you. Not only does speeding significantly impair your ability to steer safely around corners and objects in the road, it drastically reduces the time you have available to react to a dangerous situation, thus increasing your chances of crashing.
Between 2014 and 2016, the JMPD arrested 1670 drivers for travelling at more than 40 km/h over the speed limit in 80 km/h or 100 km/h zones. During the same time period, 667 drivers were arrested for speeding at over 160 km/h.
This is according to the head of JMPD, Wayne Minnaar, who says that performance enhanced vehicles and illegal street races remain problem and that some of the speedsters they’ve arrested were travelling at speeds in excess of 230 km/h.
“Substantial fines aside, doing more than 40 km/h over the speed limit will get you arrested on the spot”, says Minnaar. “Depending on the severity of your infringement, you could face fines of up to R20 000 or even time behind bars.”
“According to the World Health Organisation, the likelihood of death in a crash with an 80 km/h impact speed is 20 times higher than that in a crash with a 30 km/h impact speed. The faster you drive, the greater the impact will be when you hit something, whether it be another car, a tree, a barrier or wall. In essence, you need to slow down if you want to reduce your chances of being fatally injured in a crash,” says Dawid Botha, spokesperson for Afrikaans insurance brand, Virseker.
Popular UK motoring series, Fifth Gear, published a video of a crash at 120 mph, or 193 km/h – a speed easily attainable by even midrange modern vehicles - that shows the devastating effect on the vehicle involved.
“Whilst most modern cars have some very impressive safety features, most of these are rendered completely useless at higher speeds”, says Botha. “One example is that of the fatal 2015 Golf 7 R crash in Middelburg, Mpumalanga.”
With this in mind, Virseker also offers the following tips:
Play by the rules. Always be aware of what the speed limit is for a specific area and stick to it. Set your vehicle’s speed warning or limiter if it has one.
Be on the lookout for speedsters approaching – try to stay out of their way.
Invest in a vehicle with a high NCAP rating and good safety features, like side impact protection bars and airbags, to offer an extra line of defence.
Make sure that your vehicle is well serviced and maintained to ensure optimal handling in a crisis.
If possible, take down the details of a speedster’s vehicle and report this to authorities.
Ensure that your vehicle is adequately insured, in case you become a victim, and always have the necessary emergency numbers on hand.
“If you have a passion for fast cars and an insatiable need for speed, rather find your outlet at track days, advanced driving courses, karting circuits and even simulators than on the road. Once the damage has been done, a person has been injured, disabled or even killed, you’ll realise that the thrill isn’t worth it, but by then it’ll be too late”, concludes Botha.