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Why we drive on the right side of the road

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11. Posted by beerman (Respected Member 1631 posts) 7y

Quoting vegasmike6

The answer is what I stated before. Drive at 15 mph and there would be zero deaths on our highways! Now all we have to do is to get 150 million drivers to go along with this plan!!

I'm going to suggest expanded use of a venerable mode of transportation........golf carts. I mean really, how many golf cart accidents do you hear about that involve loss of life or limb? Sure, it still takes four hours to go a mile and a half, but you can drink and drive....and hit little balls with sticks!!!!!

12. Posted by bgl (Full Member 167 posts) 7y

Beerman, heck, I can walk faster than a golfcart...
And Mike, funny you bring up avation accidents because I do that whenever this topic comes up. Fact is, if one Boeing 737 sized aircraft were to crash every single day in the USA, killing just over 100 people every time, the FAA would close down the entire system before a week was up. There would be no commercial flights, period, until they figured out the reason. Interesting double standard. And there are plenty of double standards. Here in Hawaii (like in the rest of the country I believe) we have a seatbelt law. You have to have your seatbelt on. And if you don't, you get ticketed (if they catch you!). BUT, if you drive a pickup truck it's perfectly legal to have people in back of the truck (as long as they are 12 and over!), obviously without seatbelts!
Bo-Göran

13. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 7y

Quoting bgl

Fact is, if one Boeing 737 sized aircraft were to crash every single day in the USA, killing just over 100 people every time, the FAA would close down the entire system before a week was up.

Pffttt...it wouldn't take a week for the FAA/EASA to act....second, maybe 3rd....for instance, there is still no concret proof that pitot tubes were infact the cause of the Flight 447 crash, but the pilot's association would've voluntarily grounded the fleet if Air France didn't refit every A330.

People get away with what they can. If there was a cop around every corner giving out tickets for every driver going down the center of the road, people wouldn't be so keen to do it. Inherant self interest......

14. Posted by bgl (Full Member 167 posts) 7y

I did say "before a week was up" because I wanted to be conservative. My personal opinion is that the entire system would in all likelihood be closed down on the third day with a consecutive accident and certainly no later than the 4th.

15. Posted by BedouinLeo (Inactive 698 posts) 7y

Quoting vegasmike6

The answer is what I stated before. Drive at 15 mph and there would be zero deaths on our highways! Now all we have to do is to get 150 million drivers to go along with this plan!!

There are roads in Germany where there is no speed limit at all.
Germany has one of the lowest fatality rates on the roads, of anywhere in the world.
The secret to a longer life without crashing, is to pay more attention and leave a sensible gap. That, apparently, is pretty much it.

16. Posted by bgl (Full Member 167 posts) 7y

That's very interesting! Made me google for more info and found some interesting stuff on Wikipedia. First of all, I think it's worth keeping in mind that those Autobahn roads in Germany without a speed limit are really the exception. The overwhelming amount of vehicular traffic in Germany is definitely on streets and roads that DO have speed limits. The chart on Wikipedia shows OECD countries and traffic-related death rates. There are two numbers (for many countries): "Road fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants" and "Road fatalities per 1 billion vehicle-km". It may be tempting to only go by the first column because ALL the countries listed have a number in that column. But it's probably very misleading. Germany for instance has 6.2 which is considerably lower than the USA (14.7). But then when you see Albania (4.9), Armenia (2.9), Azerbaijan (2.9) you begin to wonder... And presumably realize that in countries with few cars there are also bound to be fewer car accidents. So, it's really the second column that provides comparable data (and many of the poorer countries have missing data there). Some numbers listed in order of lowest to highest fatality rates:
Sweden 5.9
Switzerland 5.9
Great Britain 6.3
Finland 6.4
Norway 6.5
Germany 7.4
Denmark 7.7
Netherlands 7.7
Australia 7.9
France 8.5
Austria 8.9
USA 9.0
Canada 9.2
Israel 9.6
New Zealand 10.1
Japan 10.3
Iceland 10.9
Ireland 10.9
Belgium 11.1
Slovenia 16.5
South Korea 19.3
Czech Republic 20.6

17. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 7y

Quoting BedouinLeo

There are roads in Germany where there is no speed limit at all.
Germany has one of the lowest fatality rates on the roads, of anywhere in the world.
The secret to a longer life without crashing, is to pay more attention and leave a sensible gap. That, apparently, is pretty much it.

I think my brother in law (who's German) put it best. In Germany your eyes are constantly looking in the rear view mirror. In the rest of the world, you look out the front. Just think about that for a little bit....

18. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 7y

bgl,
Thanks for doing that research. It is very difficult to compare country to country, but this gives a starting point for discussion. Take a look at the numbers for the US versus New Zealand, Ireland or Iceland. I don't think the drivers in these countries are worse drivers than the US, but the fatalities suggest otherwise. One factor may be the roads themselves. The US has a great many miles of interstate highway, controlled access divided roadways. These are much safer per mile driven than regular 2 lane roads. NZ, Ireland & Iceland have mostly 2 lane roads rather than the large divided highways common in the US. It maybe one reason for the difference in fatal accidents.

19. Posted by BedouinLeo (Inactive 698 posts) 7y

Another few factors for higher fatalities in the USA - v - Germany, is (not my words, but the words of the presenters of a programme on safe motoring around the world. I think it was 5th Gear or maybe something on 'Men and Motors') the lax motoring laws in the USA compared to in Germany. For instance, in many states of the USA if a police officer stops you on suspicion of drink driving, first you have a sobriety test where you must stand on one leg and count to ten, touch your nose with both fingers and walk a straight line. Even if you are just over the legal limit - if you do all that OK, there's a chance you'll be sent on your way.
In Germany, if your stopped on suspicion of DD, the officers will smell your breath and if you say something they don't like, you'll get dragged out the car and along the road into theirs, get bundled in the back and given a slap at the police station. It works well not to get mashed on German roads.
As for speeding, over in the USA the officer will pull you up and give you all the 'Good morning ma'm, how are you today?' stuff and politely give you a $50 ticket. In Germany expect no politeness at all and a €250 minimum fine for erratic driving. No questions asked. The fine can be even steeper if you're doing 180kph (perfectly legal in places) and there's not a sufficient gap between you and the vehicle in front. Again, no exceptions - it can be a €500, sometimes more, on the spot penalty without any hesitation.
The cars the different forces use were another issue too. The USA has big bulky slow things that have massive engines without much substance and the competition is generally quite even in a chase. In Germany the cars vary from top spec Porsches and chipped Volvos, to Mercedes Kompressors and supercharged BMW's, all with a top speed of around 300+kph. There's few who get away from a German speed kop.
In Oslo, it is common for fines of 8000NOK (equivalent of €1000) to be dished out for quite minor speeding offences.

20. Posted by bgl (Full Member 167 posts) 7y

Mike,
The roads is certainly an important component in this equation, and it obviously makes sense that you cut down on head-on collisions the more freeway type roads there are. Certainly familiar with that - here on the island of Hawaii there are NO freeways and most accidents are typically when someone crosses the centerline and hits some poor person coming the opposite direction. BUT, one important number is missing: percentage of fatalities on freeway type roads vs. non-divided roadways? That would be very interesting - comparing the USA with other countries, and especially Germany. However, there must be a number of other issues involved as well. Take Norway - lower than Germany, but with LOTS of narrow roads thru mountainous terrain. I have done a fair bit of driving in Norway myself, but not lately. But I know there are very few divided roadways. Still, they have a very low number. Could be related to what BedouinLeo is referring to: maybe more respect for speedlimits and other traffic-related laws (for whatever reason!).
Bo-Göran