Road accidents claimed over 14,000 lives in South Africa last year, and almost 15% of those deaths were blamed solely on speed. Now, you might think that I would therefore be advocating for lower speed limits, but I’m not. That’s because no-one in South Africa obeys the current speed limits anyway. And then, if they do get caught speeding, no-one pays their fines. So there’s no respect for the law, because there’s limited enforcement of that law and very limited risk of ever having to answer for your naughtiness.
But we all still like to complain about the taxis, don’t we? Where are the police (funded by your traffic fines) when you need them?
Well, you didn’t pay, so they don’t exist.
But I digress. Often.
Given the appalling record of South African drivers and speeding, this seems like a very bad idea indeed:
Now, I know that m usually refers to metre, but that doesn’t make any sense here. So m must refer to some length of time. We’d expect speed limits to be given in the traditional metric kilometres per hour (kph), but since hour begins with h, so we must therefore reasonably assume that m here is minute.
So 80km per minute (kps). I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations and that’s 4,800kph or 2,983mph.
Just under Mach 4. 3.89 times the speed of sound. Woosh.
This appears to be awfully fast to me. Especially given the warnings about the somewhat wriggly nature of the road ahead, and that koppie standing pretty much straight on if you miss the right-hander ahead, because you were going a bit quickly or something.
Or because you sneezed. Because when you sneeze, your eyes close for about half a second. If you’re driving at 80kph, you’ll travel 11.1m with your eyes closed. If you’re driving at 80kps, you’ll travel (a rather prophetic?) 666 metres completely blind. Mind out for that obstacle you haven’t even seen in the distance yet.
4,800kph. That’s eight times faster than the world’s quickest dragster over a standard ¼ mile course. On the one hand, that was from a standing start, and there will clearly be no requirement for that here. But on the other, there were no corners for the driver to negotiate, and he was going 8 times slower than drivers on this road will be, so he didn’t die.
Thankfully, 4,800kph is still less than half the speed of a Saturn V rocket, so you could probably expect to die a quick and fiery death by being completely obliterated on that hillside and without actually leaving earth’s orbit. Small mercies, silver linings and all that.
Drive safely, folks.