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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Crossing borders

Last weekend I took a drive down to Johor. Pasir Gudang is a good 330km away, which doesn't look that far but when you are stuck in a major traffic jam due to an accident that really saps your energy and patience. The ordeal lasted about 2 hours, after which I had to continue another 2 hour drive to my destination.

As I was driving past the pile of twisted metal and cargo that ran into the ground, I can't help but wonder how these things can happen, even though we repeatedly witness and hear about these accidents. Don't people have it in their right mind to just listen for once, and tell themselves, man, I wouldn't do that shit if I was you. If only they said that, would our accident rates decline?

The story surrounding this accident was sketchy, and even the papers didn't give a full report, except that a couple were in the car, lost control and smashed into a lorry carrying logs. The driver and his wife died on the spot. I was about 100 metres away from the scene, and it was a straight road. How is it that you lose control, smash head on into a lorry causing it to overturn, on a straight road?

As I drove by keeping to my 110kmh as constant as I could and checking my side and rear mirrors for any incoming hell, I encountered a couple of speed demons with their Satrias, and another breed of drivers that, for some strange reason will not let you get in front of them, even though they are driving a lot slower than the limit. Now this, is a major puzzling factor. You know how if you're keeping to 110, on the left lane and you approach this other car in front driving much slower, you will signal to the right, overtake and then get on your way. Now this driver, however, refused to admit defeat, and overtook me again. I was thinking, ok, fine just keep to the 110 limit. No. He would hover about...100? 90? Then I would have to overtake him again. This would happen a couple of times along a stretch of road. What gives?

Perhaps it is this sense of 'kiasu-ism' that causes us to lose concentration on the road. Its just simple courtesy, and knowing that the other person just wants to get to their destination safely, that should be the priority. And maybe then can we feel safer on the road, knowing that the term lose control does not refer to a person's mental state of mind, but the actual definition of an event that is beyond your control.