Statistics have indicated that during festive seasons there is usually an increase in traffic on the roads especially towards the countryside. It is important to prioritize your safety on the road, remember safety begins with you. We have highlighted a few tips that will enhance your safety on the road.
BE A SOBER ROAD USER
Safety begins with the road user and by road user we imply the drivers of vehicles, passengers occupying the vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle users. It is very important for road users to be always alert while using the road; this reduces the risk of being involved or causing an accident. Alcohol and alcoholic substances have severe effects to your normal body functioning as listed below:
· impairs your judgment
· slows your reaction time
· reduces your concentration
· decreases your vision
· impairs your coordination
All these listed factors put road users at risk of causing accidents, safe use of the road requires the ability to concentrate, have a great vision, coordinate well, make good judgments, and be quick to react to situations.
The following scenarios can help demonstrate the risks involved. Take an example of a sober driver, who is carrying an uncontrollable drunk person, there are many risks in this scenario which are not limited to reduced concentration of the sober driver, it therefore implies that drinking alcohol has indirect effects on sober people. Take another scenario of a drunken person who is trying to cross the road, or a drunk driver who is incapable of taking control of the vehicle. In these instances the two people are not only putting their lives in danger but also those of other road users. Let us always be sober road users.
WEAR PROTECTIVE GEAR
This is specifically for motorcycle users both the rider and the passenger. The use of protective gear reduces the risk of severe injury when involved in an accident. As a motorcycle user, It is very important to keep in mind that there is nothing protecting you from the outside, your body is always exposed therefore putting you at risk of severe injury or even death when an accident occurs. Always wear protective gear, at least a helmet and a reflective jacket to enhance your visibility.
OBEY TRAFFIC RULES AND ROAD SIGNS
These rules and road signs are put in place to enhance your safety on the road and to ensure smooth flow of traffic without chaos. The rules are simple and easy to follow. Emphasis should be put on motorcycle users who tend to disregard these rules as well as drivers and pedestrians. We shall highlight few rules that are prone to breaking by road users:
· In Kenya we drive on the left side of the road. It is very important to emphasize on this, KEEP LEFT UNLESS OVERTAKING.
· DON’T OVERTAKE ON BLIND CORNERS or when you don’t have a clear vision of the oncoming traffic. Overtake on dotted or dashed lines when you have clear vision.
· ALWAYS GIVE WAY to other road users; a little courtesy goes a long way. Slow down when approaching Zebra Crossing, give way to ambulances, give way to turning vehicles and so on.
· DO NOT OVERLAP; it will take you much more time to come out of the congestion or the deadlock as a result of overlapping. Just be patient the traffic will flow, everyone on the road is going somewhere.
· USE SIGNALS OR INDICATORS; The indicators or signals on your car are meant to relay messages to other road user for instance use either left or right signal when you intend to turn or get off the road, use the right indicator while overtaking, use the hazard signal to caution other road users and so on.
· USE OF CLIMBING LANE, as the name suggests the lane is supposed to be used by vehicles which are climbing, it is not meant for the descending traffic
· OBSERVE SPEED LIMITS; the speed limits are not put in place to inhibit the performance of your car, they are meant to enhance your safety
· SLOW DOWN WHILE APPROACHING URBAN CENTERS; this is a precautionary measure put in place to enhance the safety of road users especially pedestrians
· ENSURE YOU READ AND UNDERSTAND THE ROAD SIGNS; these are part of the driving school curriculum and every qualified driver should know
· do not OVERLOAD and OVER SPEED this point is skewed towards public service vehicles (PSVs) there is no point in trying to make more trips or more money at the expense of people’s lives.
· DO NOT BOARD OVERLOADED VEHICLES; safety begins with you.
· AVOID USING ELECTRONIC GADGETS WHILE USING THE ROAD; this includes texting, chatting and such kinds of activities. Social media will still be there after your journey.
· Remember to Always put on a SAFETY BELT while in a vehicle
USE OF HEADLIGHTS
It is very important to know when to use the car headlights. These lights not only help you to see but also they enhance your visibility to other road users. You should turn on your lights in the following conditions:
· at night or when in darkness (either in a tunnel or such kind of conditions)
· just after sunrise or just before sunset
· during daytime – This applies to dark colored vehicles, if you have one you are encouraged to use daytime running lights to improve your visibility to other road users
· when it is raining heavily
· when it is foggy
· when you are off road in dusty areas
Some modern cars have sensors that will turn on the lights automatically in the above conditions. Turning on the headlights during poor visibility does not imply that you have poor vision but rather you care about other road users. Please DO NOT TURN ON FULL LIGHTS at night when there is oncoming traffic you will be affecting their vision and putting them at risk. Let us be selfless.
This is a very important aspect of road safety. A vehicle that is not serviced becomes a risk to other vehicle user(s) and other road users as well. There are several checks that you always need to do to ensure that your vehicle is road worthy, below are some of the highlights:
Tyres: These are very important parts of the vehicle; you should therefore ensure that your tyres are in the right condition and that you have the right tyre for the road you are using, do not use snow tyres on gravel roads. It is recommended to change your tyre between 5 – 10 years from the date of manufacture. use of worn out tyres or expired tyre increases the risk of a tyre bursts which is one of the major contributors of accidents. Ensure that your tyres are properly inflated, aligned and so on. Inspect the tyres for uneven tread wear, shallow tread, rocks, nails, damaged areas and damaged valve caps.
Battery: Check the condition of the battery. Maintenance free batteries usually have an indication to show you the condition of the car battery, if you are using other types of batteries kindly seek the help of a qualified technician to perform diagnosis. Do not risk getting stuck on the road because of a worn out battery.
Oil: Ensure that the oil is changed regularly after the prescribed mileage; the oil should always be within the prescribed levels. Ensure that the oil filter is changed as well. This ensures that your engine performs well.
Fuel: Ensure that your vehicle has sufficient fuel for the journey don’t be afraid of fueling a full tank, after all you are the only user unless otherwise.
Coolant: Ensure that there is sufficient coolant in the radiator or the cooling system
Lights: Check the functionality of all lights in the vehicle. Ensure that all the brake lights and tail lights are working, check the reverse lights as well, check both headlights and ensure they are functioning well and confirm the indicators or signal lights are working including the hazard.
Brakes: Check to ensure that the braking system is functioning well and also confirm the condition of the brake pads, replace them if they are almost worn out or completely worn out.
Always ensure that your vehicle has undergone all round checks and necessary repairs by a qualified mechanic before you embark on a journey to avoid mishaps on the road. if your car stalls on the road for one reason or the other, clearly put the hazard signs to warn other road user, seek help to fix the issue as quickly as possible, try as much as you can to give way to other road users and watch out for your safety as well as other road users.
As a precautionary measure, beware of thugs on the road; don’t stop in deserted places or generally unsafe places.
All in all we should always be vigilant and report those flouting traffic rules to the authorities. Let us be good ambassadors of safety on our roads and always take precaution, remember safety is not for the authorities.
Categories: LIFE HACKS