Myth 1: Going a few kilometres faster or slower doesn’t make any difference to safety.
The Facts: Actually, it does.
Speed is the difference between a correctable mistake and a fatal error.
Every extra km/h increases the likelihood of someone having a crash.
Regardless of what causes a crash, speed always plays a part.
Myth 2: The police should focus on real crime, not good people doing nothing wrong.
The Facts: New Zealand roads can be unforgiving. Last year (2015), 320 people were killed on our roads. Travelling too fast for the conditions contributed to the cause of about a third of all fatal crashes, and it affects the impact of every crash.
Even good drivers can hurt others if they travel at the wrong speed for the road and conditions.
Myth 3: Slowing down will make it take ages to get anywhere.
The Facts: When you factor in traffic lights, congestion and other drivers, travel times don’t vary as much as you think.
A study, commissioned by the New Zealand Transport Agency, tracked travel times along six different routes spread between Auckland and Christchurch.
It found that when driving at the maximum posted speed wherever possible, drivers arrived at their destination as little as 1.08 minutes faster than when they drove 10km/h slower.
Myth 4: Modern cars are safer and better, so there’s no need for us to drive slower.
The Facts: Cars may have evolved to go faster, but humans haven’t; our bodies feel the force of a crash the same way they did when the first car was invented.
While modern cars have better safety equipment, New Zealand’s fleet is relatively old. Half the cars on the road lack even basic safety features, like stability control or side airbags.
New Zealand roads are often unforgiving and leave no room for error. Even the best technology won’t stop another car crashing into you.
We all make mistakes. Speeding is the one risk that good drivers can minimise.
Myth 5: It’s slow drivers who cause crashes, because they cause others to overtake.
The Facts: Last year (2015), 320 people were killed on our roads. Travelling too fast for the conditions contributed to the cause of about a third of all fatal crashes. On the other hand, slow driving is not significantly implicated as a cause in our poor crash statistics.
Myth 6: The speed limits in NZ are low compared to other countries already, so it’s ridiculous to make them even lower.
The Facts: Our roads are unique. They are windy, hilly and often single lane. They can be challenging and demanding to drive, and the consequences of small errors can be fatal.
Many countries we compare ourselves with have a default speed limit on the open road that is lower than ours. It’s only on high-class motorways in some of those countries that speed limits are higher.
We need to help drivers choose the right speed for the road. We also need to reduce the risk on the road by improving the roads or, in some instances, lowering speed limits.
Myth 7: Police have been focusing on speed a lot in recent years (especially during holiday periods) but people are still dying on our roads – obviously the focus on speed isn’t working.
The Facts: Travelling too fast for the conditions contributed to the cause of about a third of all fatal crashes, and speed affects the impact of every crash.
Not all roads have the same risk. We need to help drivers read the road.
Police would write fewer tickets, and fewer people would be hurt on our roads, if more people drove the right speed for the roads.
Myth 8: The problem isn’t speeding – it’s the terrible standard of driving in New Zealand.
The Facts: Improving everyone’s driving skills, and their ability to read the road, would have a positive impact on the speeds people travel and the harm done on our roads.
Speed is one risk that good drivers can minimise.
Myth 9: Car speedos aren’t that accurate, so you might think you are within the limit when you are actually going faster. It’s not fair to be pinged at the limit when the speedo is putting you wrong.
The Facts: It actually works the other way around.
The law states a vehicle's true speed must not be higher than the speed indicated by the speedometer.
In 2010 Consumer Magazine found speedometers do not underestimate the speed you travel. So, if you’re over the limit it won’t be your speedo’s fault.
Drivers should consider the appropriate speed for the road, every time they drive.