Speed Kills

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I’m not a journalist, I’m not here to report facts. I’m a blogger and an emotional one at that. This is what we heard and saw.

This morning at 6am a man died not 100m from our house. John and I were sitting on the couch, I was feeding Sophie. We heard an almighty bang. I thought a truck had overturned. John went outside to inspect and thought 2 cars had collided at the Cowper St Roundabout, on Hannell St, Wickham. On closer inspection it appears a single car sped straight through the roundabout, didn’t even break or turn, hit a tree in the middle of the roundabout and ended up facing the wrong way. The front of the car gone. Debris scattered metres from the car. The car’s battery ended up on the other side of the road, across 4 lanes of traffic. The driver, dead. My husband saw the body. Slumped in the car. Something he will never forget.

If it had have been a ‘normal’ morning, John and our dog Jack would have already left the house and would have been standing waiting to cross the road in the exact spot the car and debris ended. The thought of it makes me feel ill. I’m on the verge of tears just thinking about it. Thank God Sophie had a poo explosion and instead of setting off for their morning walk John was helping me get her changed.

Speeding along Hannell St is not uncommon. In fact most nights we hear people ‘flying’ along the road, doing burnouts around the roundabout or drag racing. At 2am in the morning, when you are trying to sleep, to say it’s frustrating is an understatement, not to mention dangerous for other road users. This morning the full dangers of speeding were in full view. Strangely and eeriely there were no skid marks. Once again I stress I’m not here to report the facts, I’m speculting. I don’t know if the driver was high on drugs, asleep, or on a suicide mission. Who knows. But with out a doubt he was speeding.

The fact that no one else was injured or killed truly is a miracle. An off duty firefighter swerved to miss being hit by the car. Had it have been a week day there may have been more cars on the road, more people crossing to go for a morning stroll along the water front. More chance of someone else being involved.

What will it take for people to realise the message is clear. And very very simple. SPEED KILLS. Drag racing at 2am in a 60km zone is not cool. Taking on a roundabout at 100km is not cool. Having the police visit parents to tell them their son has been killed in an accident. Absolutely devastating.

Something needs to be done on Hannell St. Traffic calming devices. Speed cameras. More police blitzes late at night, and in the early hours of the morning.

I’m quite surprised that a fatality in that very spot had not happened sooner. And why does something so horrific and sad have to happen before something is done.

I love where we live. It’s close to John’s work, close to friends, close to the water. And I want to stay here and raise my family without being petrified of crossing the road for fear of being hit by a hoon flying through a roundabout. I want to get a full night sleep without being woken by a car skidding because they were doing 100km in a 60km zone.

I feel compelled to do something. John spoke to one of the Cops there and he suggested writing to the Cop in charge of Highway Patrol, and the Local/State Government.

It’s not hard to obey road rules. Everyone has sped at some time or another. But after today, I can say even if someone sits on my arse I won’t be speeding for anything. It’s just not worth it. Because as we saw this morning Speed Kills. And it doesn’t just kill the person speeding. You can be an innocent driver/pedestrian obeying all the rules under the sun and be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

So before you put your foot down, just remember you’re not just endangering your own life, but all those around you too.

8 Comments
  • Nicole
    February 19, 2011

    Horrible morning for you. Not something you can un-see.

    I live in Maryville (the old part), We can hear the cars speeding along Hannell St in the middle of the night as well. We have to be at least 4 blocks away. It does seem to have become a bit of a drag strip.

    Extra hugs for Miss Sophie today!

  • Madeline
    February 19, 2011

    Oh how awful. I’m sorry your husband saw that.

  • Julie
    February 19, 2011

    I had three children in the car when we drove past the accident site on our way to swimming lessons this morning. I’m amazed to hear it was a single vehicle accident. I knew from what I saw that either the mangled vehicle had been flying or whatever it hit was flying. Even with my untrained eye, I can’t imagine that amount of damage being done by a vehicle(s) only travelling 60 kmh.

    Also my children did not need to see what they saw this morning (We tried to distract them as best we could, but…). There were the inevitable questions, and we did our best to answer them.

    We live in the back streets of suburban Newcastle. we have just moved from a “through” back street – one that is dotted by 4-way stop signs at every intersection. We were regularly woken in the wee hours by cars (or motorbikes) that you could hear coming from miles away – obviously travelling at incredibly high speed, and very obviously not stopping at the stop signs. Some nights you would hold your breath and just hope you didn’t hear a “bang”.

    One morning last year, I was woken at 5am by a bang. I sprang from my bed and raced outside with the phone in my hand, ready to dial 000 – such was the noise. For such a lound bang – I was amazed to see both drivers get back in their cars and drive off (in sick sounding cars) after colliding head-on just up from our house. There is no way they had time to exchange details. My theory is that neither of them wanted to be breath-tested and they scampered quickly. So as well as the hoons I could hear, I realised my back-street was probably being used by people too drunk to be driving.

    While what happened on Hannell St this morning is tragic – the driving behaviour that is assumed to have lead to the incident – is happening every Friday and Saturday night (amongst others) on both main and back streets all around Newcastle (and most likely other towns and cities).

    I don’t know what the solution is.

  • Marissa Roberts
    February 19, 2011

    It’s so scary these days, especially driving with children. The amount of speeding and other bad driving I see on the road now, in broad daylight, shocks me and I wonder what it will be like in 15 years when my daughter learns how to drive…

  • Su Chin
    February 19, 2011

    *lump in throat*

    Glad to hear that your partner’s plan to walk was thwarted by poo.

    Very tragic.

    (came by Marissa’s tweet).

  • Jodie at Mummy Mayhem
    February 19, 2011

    How terrible for ur Hubby to see that. As you know, my sister died in a car accident. Not due to speeding, but nevertheless…devastating. The ambulance driver who attended the scene sent a sympathy card to my parents. It obviously upset him seeing two young people lose their life.

    It’s frustrating that people know that speed kills, but they still do it. Not only could they kill themselves, but they could kill others.

    xxx

  • Bel Hodges
    February 19, 2011

    What a waste. You got to wonder sometimes what it takes to get the message through. My ex used to drive like that, he got worse the more I asked him to slow down. Thought it would never happen to him he was too good of a driver. Ego’s are responsible for so much carnage on our roads. I used to be in the RFS up north and attended a fair few car accidents, people attitudes afterwards always left me shaking my head in disbelief.

    You little one did you a favour this morning, so glad none of you witnessed it. What a horrible thing for anyone to go through.

  • Jane
    February 21, 2011

    Wow. Powerful post, and such an important message. Speeding is one of those things that people don’t see as being overly dangerous until it results in an accident, or even worse, death.

    How awful that John saw the body – I hope he is OK. And thank God for poo explosions. x

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