Approximately 1.3 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes globally. It is also stated that injuries from road crashes are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5 -29 years. In the year 2020, in Nigeria, road traffic crashes killed 5,574 people and maimed 33,311 people. In the year 2019, 5483 people died and 35,981 were injured, thereby confirming the increase in both death rates and injured people in the year 2020, as stated by the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC). This was also during the time when Nigeria was in total COVID-19 lockdown.
The above may be seen as just numbers, they are actual human beings who make use of the roads on a daily basis. Going by our population growth and the influx of different types and models of cars into the country, it is expected that the numbers of drivers and general road users increase per time.
We are now in the rainy season and road crashes may increase, here’s how we can drive safely this period:
Drive within the official speed limit
Roads are generally wet as a result of the rain and other forms of liquids that come with rainy season. This is an obvious fact, and it baffles me that people tend to neglect this by driving recklessly. The effects of this are the different crashes we see on a daily basis anytime rain falls. To avoid this, we must stick to the speed limit as advised in the Nigeria Highway Code.
Change your vehicle wipers and other necessary parts
We are expected to change our wipers before we experience the first rain of the year. The fact that these wipers are not used for months could make them strong and stiff, hence, their inability to function optimally, and leading to blurry windshield when they are switched on. A blurry windshield is mostly dangerous to drive with. Becca Strange in the article titled “How a clean Windshield makes driving in the rain tolerable” wrote that it’s a serious safety concern if you have a dirty windshield or old windshield wipers. She also wrote on how to keep your windshield clean.
Leave for your trip earlier
Setting on any journey earlier gives room for you to be relaxed when driving, and eliminates the anxiety and aggression that come with driving under stress. Also, leaving for a trip earlier gives you the chance to obey all traffic rules without thinking you’re wasting your time. Like Enidhi India pointed out in a blog post, “Trip Advice: Advantages of starting early”, you also tend to enjoy the ability to visit lesser known locations around your primary destination.
Do not be distracted
Using a phone while driving is a leading cause of distracted driving. When you drive, you need full concentration. Pressing your phones or engaging in any other activity aside driving is highly dangerous and mostly leads to road crashes.
Apply the Right of Way Always
Failure to yield the right of way leads to crashes in most cases. Right of way must be yielded to other drivers in the following instances: at a yield sign, to pedestrians in a crosswalk, to persons using a seeing eye guide, and so on.
The list is inexhaustible, however, strict adherence to the ones listed would do a lot in keeping you safe when you drive during the rainy season. Making use of streaky wipers can blur the windshield, which thereafter leads to stressful journeys. And driving under stress, texting or calling when driving can be likened to a suicide mission.
Here’s an appeal to obey all available road signs for safer travel. Your safety and that of other road users is paramount. Let us join hands to make our roads a safe motoring environment for all.