To say that dangerous driving practices are a problem in New Zealand might be something of an understatement at this point. According to one recent study, there were 380 people killed on New Zealand roads in 2018 alone. That’s actually the highest number of road deaths in a single year since 2009. While that number may not sound like a lot compared to the United States, when you consider that the population of the entire country was estimated at just 4.79 million people in 2017, it’s easy to see why this is such a cause for alarm.
Dash Camera

Recently, it hasn’t been the New Zealand government that has tried to correct this issue, but drivers of the country themselves. Over the past few months, dash cam users have been uploading videos of dangerous driving footage to Facebook in an attempt to not only help raise awareness to this issue, but to help prevent people from making these types of potentially devastating decisions in the future. Some of their footage is alarming, to say the least.

Dash Cam Footage to the Rescue: The Story Playing Out Across New Zealand

Many of the dash cam videos that users have posted to Facebook are alarming, but two in particular stand out. In one, a distracted driver turns down a lane and totally ignores all marked arrows indicating that the road only heads in one direction. They travel the wrong way down that road for several seconds and narrowly avoid causing a series of accidents.

In another, a particularly aggressive driver is attempting to overtake a truck by speeding into the passing lane — only to realize that this lane is used by oncoming traffic as well. They manage to get back behind the truck at the last possible second, narrowly avoiding slamming head-on into another truck headed right for them.

These are the types of problems that are not unique to New Zealand. The United States has one-way roads and narrow high-speed freeways too. There’s a lot to be learned from all of these videos, regardless of where in the world you live.

One of the leaders of the dash cam movement, a man named Mike Chubb, was himself almost a victim of dangerous driving very recently. He said that he hopes all of this activity on social media can help discourage dangerous driving across the country. The theory is that if you know there’s a high possibility that someone around you might have a camera pointed right at your car, you’ll think twice before you make a decision that could put multiple lives at risk. Especially if you know that the footage could wind up on a Facebook page with hundreds of thousands of followers, or worse — on the local nightly news.

Police in New Zealand also agree that this is a deterrent, particularly since they have the authority to investigate all offenses captured on video. They also put out a word of warning, however, saying that people need to always prioritize safety when using recording devices while on the road. If you don’t, you could be just as guilty of dangerous driving as that person ahead of you suffering from road rage — albeit from a slightly different perspective.

In the end, the most important thing to remember is that our driving decisions don’t exist in a vacuum. When we get behind the wheel of a car and speed down the road because we’re late to an appointment, we’re not just putting our own safety in jeopardy. We’re potentially endangering the lives of every other person we come across — none of whom deserve to become a victim of our own lack of decency and common sense.

So as these dash cam videos from New Zealand go a long way towards proving, we could all stand to slow down and take a deep breath every now and again — especially the next time we get behind the wheel for a drive. You never know what might happen when you least expect it.