Happy new year and welcome to 2022.I hope you had fun with your family and friends as well as with your neighbours. Well, as you plan your return journey, please kindly look though my piece last week and this week to guide you on your way back. What you are reading is the concluding part of my focus on how to return safely with your loved ones. Let me start with defensive driving which is a must driving skill required by all drivers.
Globally, defensive driving is the ‘’voodoo’’ to safety on the road. It is therefore an all-round medication. A defensive driver assumes he is the only sane driver on the road. Since crashes are caused by individual errors, he is always cautious, obeys all rules and develops the right attitude such as patience, care, skill as well as consideration for other road users. A defensive driver never allows his safety to depend on the response of other. He therefore anticipates wrong actions of others, always gives correct prompt as well as adequate and clear signals.
Are you a prayer warrior? An experienced driver? Are you too familiar with the roads you travel? Do you drive a sleek car? State of the art car? Or do you drive an articulated vehicle? A luxury bus? All these have a way of playing on your confidence on the road. Never allow the size of your vehicle get into your head and cause you to drive aggressively toward others or affect your comportment. Drivers often feel they are the masters of the road and tend to allow these and other factors affect their attitude to road usage. Remember that that machine is beyond you. Although you are the pilot, never assume that you can never be involved in a crash. Therefore, please always drive by the rules
This season is season of merriment with lots of drinks. Driving under the influence of alcohol or hard drugs is dangerous and illegal. This is because alcohol causes over confidence, poor judgment, lack of coordination and recklessness and also affects your vision. To stay alive, please drink but stay off the wheels.
Although, data on road crash to justify the danger of fatigue in Nigeria is scarce, globally fatigue remains a hidden killer. Many have died in the name of tyre burst, speed, dangerous overtaking when in actual fact the real factor may have been fatigued that was ignored as nothing serious. What really is fatigue? According to the Australian material, a combination of any of the following warning signs means the driver is becoming fatigues: yawning, eyes feeling sore or heavy or vision starting to blur.Others include daydreaming- thinking of everything else but not your driving, not concentrating, becoming impatient, reactions seem slow, speed creeps up and down, making poor gear changes, wandering over the centre line or onto the road edge or feeling stiff or cramped, feeling hunger or thirsty, having difficulties keeping your head up or eyes open, hearing a droning or humming in your ears or when you don’t notice a vehicle until it overtakes you.
When you notice these signs, please don’t ignore it. Don’t plead the blood either. Don’t even border binding the ‘innocent devil’. Hey, it is not even time to blast in unknown tongues. It is not the devil. Not your in-law. Not your angry landlord. Not even your jealous colleague in the office. But you, yes you. Once fatigue sets in, there is little you can do about it except stop as soon as possible and take a break. Take a break, sooner rather than later. Driver fatigue can be just as deadly as drink driving or excessive speeding. The problem of fatigue is that it slowly develops and drivers often don’t realize they are too tired to drive safely. Ironically; there is always a warning sign. Mine began with yawning. Fatigue, according to research is caused by lack of sleep or broken sleep. Alcohol and some medications can also cause sleepiness. Although the need for sleep varies among individuals, sleeping eight hours in a 24hours period is common. The effect of sleep loss builds up. Regularly losing 1 to 2 hours sleep a night can create a “sleep debt: and lead to chronic sleepiness over time. Just being in bed doesn’t mean a person has had enough sleep. Disrupted sleep has the same effect as lack of sleep, illness; noise activity can interrupt and reduce the amount and quality of sleep.
Like every other driving habits or problems, fatigue has its fair share of myths. For those freaky about night trips or night journeys, the notion is that it is safer to make the trip at night in rhythm pattern built into it. If you are driving when you would normally be sleeping you will be fighting yourself to stay awake. The chances of falling asleep at the wheel after your normal bedtime, especially in the early hours of the morning, are very high. There is also the notion that it is a good idea to start the trip after work. But do you know the risk involved travelling after work is certainly not the ideal and this is a fact. After the mental and physician office work demands during the day, you will be too tired even though you will not realize it. The safest thing to do is to get a good night sleep about 7-8hours of undisturbed sleep) and start your journey the next morning. There are those who think that loud music will keep you awake. Agreed that loud music can. However, it will only help for a while. It might even distract you from the driving task or even send you to sleep.
What about coffee? Gworo (kolanut)? What if combined with Cigarette? Caffeine is only short term solution and will have less effect the more often you use it. It might make you feel more alert but it won’t keep you going for long. Sleep remains the long term solution. So, please learn to catch enough sleep and rest before you even attempt that journey.