Damage from collisions can be minimised with precautions

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 February, 2009, 12:00am

As humankind invents and uses new ways to travel, the danger of collisions increases.

We are only too familiar with the deadly effects of road vehicles crashing into pedestrians, or into each other.

I notice that these days few designs of car have adequate rubber-faced bumpers, which help limit the damage if a collision does occur. And many lorries have sharp projections at the front, which are sure to cause injury or severe damage if they crash into somebody or into another vehicle.

Our hospital wards tell the tragic tale of the results of such poor designs.

Better safety precautions should be introduced, such as the provision of softer bumper bars on the fronts of all road vehicles.

Recently, the large number of objects propelled into space by man - and left orbiting the Earth - resulted in the first major astro-crash when two of them collided.

It seems not much can be done to avoid that happening again, as the continued movements of these numerous items of 'space junk' are now beyond human control. All we on Earth can do is to limit the number of new objects discarded into the stratosphere.

Collisions between aircraft are not unheard of and sometimes occur as their pilots put on a daring performance at air shows.

Such performances need to be limited to what can be done safely. And now we have had the shocking spectacle of two nuclear submarines colliding in mid-ocean.

It was only by the effect of luck, rather than by the result of due care, that a very much more serious accident did not then occur.

At least there is something which can be done to help to avoid a recurrence of such a deep-ocean collision: those well-equipped military submarines should switch on their sonar devices.

Those who design modern vehicles for use on the roads, on the sea and for use in the air and space, should be more mindful of the need to include precautionary measures to protect people from the dangerous effects of collisions.

Paul Surtees, Mid-Levels