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Staying safe on the road is not a Cocktail Party


Road traffic collisions (so called accidents) kill thousands of people in Nigeria every year, aside from thousands of others injured, not to mention damage to property and the environment as a result. It is estimated that in about 80% of those occurrences driver error is the principally the primary cause. That is to say that as many as eighty percent could have been prevented if drivers involved had acted differently when it mattered most.

However, drivers can only prevent collisions if they know what to do to respond correctly in time to dangerous situations. Acting correctly in time comes with proper training and constant practice. Any driver not properly schooled in the art of safe driving is a problem to him/herself as well as to others because like they say, it is impossible to give what you do not have. According to local authority sources, most drivers plying our roads lack basic safe driving skills because they did not pass through approved or standard driver training schemes prior to certification. To be certified as fit to safely operate motorized vehicles on public roads, streets and highways is not a responsibility to be taken lightly by anyone, but alas! That is exactly what seems to be happening. And if so, it paints a truly worrisome picture for everyone.

Driving is generally hazardous but against such a chaotic backdrop, it becomes extremely challenging to stay collision-free or feel safe because the odds are way too heavy. Imagine having to routinely face an army of poorly trained, poorly educated drivers at each turn, at every intersection, every traffic lights stop and all that. Then you may begin to appreciate the size of the threat to road users. That said, it probably makes sense to say that the exposed driver is on his/her own in terms because the prevailing hazards and conditions are his/her alone to safely manage since trouble is always a whisker away. Truth be told, that trouble will most likely come from what the other driver does or does not do, and that really is the crux of the matter.

Safe driving in traffic populated by drivers with less-than-adequate knowledge of the provisions of the Highway Code, road signs and markings, vehicle performance limitations, etc. is truly a hard nut to crack, to say the least. And if you were to add lack of road skills, poor adjustment to weather, light, driver, traffic and vehicle conditions to all that then you may just begin to consider chucking your hand  in, just to stay safe by yourself. But drive everyday you must if you must go about your daily routine or vocation.

Yet some do not appreciate that driving is hazardous enough without adding drinking to the mix, not to talk of illicit drugs and other substance use or abuse. Combining drive with anything else can be more than a potent mixture that does no one’s health and wellbeing any good. Ideally, driver education/training does not end with passing a driver's test and becoming a "proud" possessor of a driver's licence. It should continue in all your days of driving, otherwise you could lose more than the licence itself, in certain circumstances. Continuous improvement is a philosophy with road traffic safety in mind because without it, the driver is a sitting duck. For instance, it takes discipline, training and good old common sense to know that using the phone while driving is a NO GO AREA for the safety conscious and aware driver.

And you know what? So also is eating, drinking, reading, texting, arguing, etc. Always remember that your safety is in your hands.

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