On November 16 2021, a long crash a lon Jebba-Mokwa road killed nine people while on the November 18,2021 on the same corridor, a multiple crash killed eleven people. These crashes were caused by excessive speeding and wrongful overtaking. These were just two of some of the road crashes that occurred before Christmas. There were others. And there still will be other road traffic crashes during the yuletide despite our goal of ensuring zero deaths and even zero crashes. I can tell you that these crashes would these be traceable to human error although drivers will shift blames to the road or the vehicle.
As we celebrate this year’s Christmas today, driving for those who travelled was as usual tasking. These commandments should guide you even as you prepare to embark on that journey back and even short trips within your community. You should be guided by relevant traffic regulations especially the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 which prohibits anyone who is not duly licensed to drive. A valid driver’s license is therefore your legal right to drive. This legal right restricts you to specific type of vehicles.
Secondly, before you drive that car in the face of the crippling and biting effect of the global economic challenges, ascertain that your vehicle meets minimum safety standards. This simply put means that you must ensure your vehicle is well maintained and that all necessary safety paraphernalia are in proper shape. Don’t join the multitude who play lip service to safety. Vehicle maintenance is the key to safety this season. Remember that mechanical factor is one of the three ingredients responsible for road crashes. Therefore, having a sound vehicle is a key safety priority.
Having crossed these two hurdles, you must ask yourself a very critical and personal question such as the following; are you emotionally, mentally and physically sound to embark on that journey? This is perhaps the most critical decision that must be taken before any journey. Driving is pleasure. However, this same pleasure kills. This same pleasure killed the number outline in the introduction to this piece. When they embarked on that journey, they were convinced that the drivers were sound. The victims trusted their lives in a hand of a driver whose mental, emotional condition they could not ascertain. This is why you must be sure you patronize a transporter with a track record on safety and avoid patronizing road side transporters especially in the face of insecurity and safety.
A good number especially in our climes drive under emotional and financial stress. It is important that you stay off the wheels if you have issues to contend with -issues that would affect your total concentration on the wheels. If you won a jackpot from any of the ongoing sports betting platforms, please allow someone else drive or else you will kill yourself because of excitement. Your knowledge of the traffic rules and regulations is also import as it ensures good driving culture. Remember the biblical injunction which says obedience is better than sacrifice. Let it always be your key guide this season and always.
A typical Nigeria driver is self-centered and is not willing to share the road with another. This self-centeredness is exhibited when another driver attempts to overtake him. It is therefore advisable that when overtaking, do so when you are sure it is legal and safe for you and other road users. The road signs and marking will always guide you on when and where to overtake. You must avoid overtaking within build up areas and the crest of the hill just to mention a few. The choice to determine when it is safe becomes yours to make and is it necessary. You must learn to use your mirrors and glance behind you to see the blind spots. Remember the look-signal and look again and move routine. You should overtake only on the left and avoid lines when you see a ‘no overtaking’ sign.
Excessive speeding is another commandment to note; the traffic regulations specifies different speed limit for different vehicles. This is because speed is one of the critical factors identified by the World Health Organization and world bank as responsible for increased fatalities. what this simply means is that your chances of survival while driving should you be involved in a crash is dependent on your speed. So if you are speed freak, watch that speed. Don’t forget that as you speed, anything can happen such as tyre burst, brake failure or even pedestrian crossing the road. Whenever you speed, remember that at 100km/ph a vehicle moves at 28meteres per second on a road. The speed limit for private cars on an expressway is 100km/ph while taxis and buses are allowed to maintain speed limits of 90km/ph on an expressway. For articulated vehicles like tankers and trailers, the speed limit is 60km/ph on the expressway and 50km/ph on the highway. Within built-up areas, taxis and buses are to maintain speed limits of 50km/ph although the current global campaign spearheaded by the United Nations and the World Health Organization is for a 30km/ph speed limit in built up areas. However, you must note that common sense often dictates lower speed limits. Common sense speed should therefore be lower in bad weather, or bad roads. The same should be applied when the roads are busier.