Live now
Start time
Playing for
End time
Listen live
Up next
Listen live on

Bernadine Oliver-Kerby: Don't blame the road toll on anyone but yourself

Bernadine Oliver-Kerby,
Publish Date
Tue, 17 Jan 2017, 7:24AM
(NZ Herald).
(NZ Herald).

Bernadine Oliver-Kerby: Don't blame the road toll on anyone but yourself

Bernadine Oliver-Kerby,
Publish Date
Tue, 17 Jan 2017, 7:24AM

I was in the car yesterday dropping Miss 7 off at a play date, and while starting to accelerate on a green traffic light, a truck came roaring through the intersection in front of me. "How red was his light?" I bleated to the car of wide-eyed children. To which Miss 9 replied: "I'd like to write on a post-it note and hold it up to the window to the driver with WTF written on it!"

A long, long, stunned pause entered the vehicle as I scrambled for an appropriate parental response.  The little radar in the back picks up on everything. Clearly there have been many occasions in the car I haven't engaged the filter.

"Do you know what WTF means, Mum?" she chirped. Huge sigh of relief. If she has to ask me if I know what it means, clearly, she hasn't heard it from me.

"I know another meaning for WTF,"  Miss 7 chimed in. God, here we go again. Just when I thought I was off the hook.

"WTF... Where's the Food?"  

Laughter and shrieking explodes in the back of the car and I exhale as the conversation is lightened and we've found a far more appropriate usage for the letters WTF.

But I got to thinking about the close shave we had, and how our holiday break spent driving around the Bay of Plenty and Waikato had been littered with displays of incredibly bad driving. Not to mention a bit of colourful verbal making a cameo occasionally because of it.  

Three-hundred-and-twenty-eight people died on the roads in 2016. 328. That's the equivalent of the entire roll of my girls' primary school. The whole school - gone.

Now I'm far from perfect on the road. Just ask my husband. In fact, I'm a world champion in back seat driving. But I can perfectly describe why we're dying on the roads. It's you.

It's not the lack of cops or lack of passing lanes or sub standard roads. It's you.

It's the 40 percent in 2016 who died or caused death on the roads due to drugs and alcohol.

The 24 percent who died due to speeding and dangerous driving.

And the majority of the remaining deaths caused by those who were so clever they didn't need a seatbelt.  Why the hell wouldn't you put on a seatbelt when you get in a car?!!

We are human and can make mistakes, and all do, but there is no excuse for the idiots who regularly have Greg Murphy moments but severely lack his on-road ability.

I'd confidently say you've all got a story of some clown on the road over the Christmas break who left you gasping at their speed or stupidity. 

The impatient driver who can no longer suffer behind the Nana day-tripper and puts the foot down. Not when it's safe to pass but when patience has run out.

My biggest frustration... following the Sunday driver doing 76km in a 100km zone until a passing lane presents itself and suddenly the 76km/h leader is now doing 106km/h and you have stuff all chance of getting past.  And of course, we all know what happens when the passing lane runs out. Yep back to under 80km, with blood pressures behind soaring.  

But as a wise friend said to me as they sat in holiday traffic suffering in silence at the lengthy queues, "its' not a race."  I lost count of the number of cars towing boat and trailers roaring past us -- and their 90km speed limit -- and being unable to keep pace with a truck breaching the same reduced speed limit. 

So we need to stop pointing the finger at the lack of cops, lack of funding and lack of ads on the telly telling you not to drink and drive, slow down, buckle up.  Hey, and how about some manners?  They don't just end at the dinner table.

Point the finger at yourself and take some personal responsibility. Without the finger of blame turned inwards a little more it will continue to be acceptable to get behind the wheel after a few. Think a jaunt up the road doesn't need a seat belt or that it's okay to put the foot down when it suits you - not the conditions.

As Miss 9 would say, WTF?

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you