Wednesday, March 12, 2008

People caused the crash, nothing else.

The country's worst-ever road crash is still a confused story and there are plenty of rumours doing the rounds.

There were a number of crashes along the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway, hundreds of vehicles were involved, many caught fire, at least three and perhaps more than double that number were killed, over three hundred are injured, many critically.

Exactly how many crashes, how many vehicles, how many dead and injured is not clear and there are conflicting reports everywhere.

What isn't in dispute is that it was the country's worst-ever road disaster.

They call it an accident.

I don't like that word, it makes the event sound as though it was unavoidable, was no-one's fault.

Never forget that accidents don't happen, they are caused.

The police are reported to be blaming the thick fog as a major contributor. Others are saying it was fate, some sort of divine will.

The fact is that the cause is simple to pinpoint. Brainless, mindless, criminally stupid people.

Nothing else.

Speed, stopping distance and the distance you can actually see are inseparable.

If, as the police said was the situation yesterday, you can only see a few feet and you drive at 100kph or more you are going to slam into anything in front of you.

They did.

You can also be sure that some were talking on their mobile phones, others were in the wrong lane, plenty of them had their hazard lights flashing so that no-one would know if they were going to change lane. It was early morning so more than a few would have been drinking coffee - I've seen it many times.

Criminal stupidity.

And what I complained about yesterday, the unbelievable heartlessness, the lack of any semblance of humanity.

I'm not sure about the looting rumours, there hasn't been any confirmation from the authorities. It could have been, for example, that people who'd fled their vehicles to get to a safer place later went back to retrieve their belongings.

But there are other examples, such as people following emergency vehicles along the hard shoulder to try to get to the front, the rubberneckers on the opposite carriageway. And how about these:

"“While I was trying to rescue my friend, I was horrified to see one of the passengers from a crashed bus being mowed down by a car that was speeding down the hard shoulder,” Singh said. From 7Days.

"What really got be irritated was when I saw some of the motorists busy clicking away pictures on their mobile phone instead of helping the injured." Rachael Johnson. From Gulf News.

As always, in contrast to the cretins there were people doing what they could to help and comfort:

"...unknown hero on the road (a labourer) who was shouting his heads off and running towards the on coming traffic to warn them and stop them. It is difficult to explain how frantically he was yelling and trying his best to stop cars ... just so that there are not any more casualties. Had I not stopped because of his warning I might have also been involved in that horrific accident.

When I asked that “angel” what had happened, he told me that people are dying ahead on the road … everyone is hitting in each other. I advised him to take some precaution while warning others on the road, coz he was running towards the traffic in the road to force them to slow down or stop. Guess what he replied, he said “If I can save them by risking my own life then let it be that way.” Anyway, my salute to that labourer." Waqqas Pervez.
From Khaleej Times.

"Some of the motorists who were stranded in the traffic were seen offering water to those who were injured.” Rachael Johnson. From Gulf News.

Thick fog, slippery roads, visibility a few feet. What speeds do you think would be needed to flatten cars like this:

Photo: Gulf News.

Gulf News.



Umar in Dubai said...

I totally agree with you. I hope this will be an eye-opener

Cairogal said...

I can't tell you how sickened I am by this.

That one labourer who tried to warn the just goes to show you how rich one can be w/o money.

Anonymous said...

A very common explanation is "its destiny".

There used to be taxi drivers who would not wear seatbelts and say "seatbelts dont protect you, God does".

Similarly I know people who drive at 200kph, and then say "fate decides when you die, speed doesnt".

Grumpy Goat said...

The strapline for a former road safety campaign in the UK specifically aimed at driving in fog:

Too fast, too close, too late.

A desperate tragedy, and yet so avoidable.

Anonymous said...

Personally I was delighted to see the crash and resulting deaths. Most drivers in Dubai and uneducated, boorish bullies who deserve the ultimate penalty for their behaviour. I have lost count of the times I have wished the bastard drivers of Dubai to suffer this fate.