Many countries have laws requiring vehicle operators and passengers to wear SEATBELTS. Sadly, in Ghana many people resist using seat-belts and sometimes pay the price with their lives.
If you are still unconvinced that seat-belts can mean the difference between life and death in vehicle accident, then take a moment to consider that people who are thrown from cars in accidents are twenty-five times more likely to be killed than if they have been secured in their seatbelts.
In the event of your car catching fire or is submerged, seatbelts can keep you from getting knocked-out and thus, greater improve your chances of escape.
In fact, it pays to remember that seatbelts are designed not for decoration purposes but for the users safety and security in mind. The fact is, newer seatbelt design allows for total freedom of motion while driving. The latching device that secures the belt only goes into effect when the car jolts abruptly, as in accident.
Driving, therefore, requires delicate co-ordination between decision and actions. Anything so done to disturb the mind disrupts the systematic movement and the consequences can be anybody’s guess.
We pray that motorists would take to road safety campaigns very seriously to examine the problems posed by frequent accidents to help save themselves and passengers from going into their graves prematurely.
Accidents are not unexpected in one’s life span and there are few families in Ghana who escape the shocking departure of a loved one this way. And because they occur suddenly in varying forms, road accidents will forever remain the scourge of mankind.
It is unfortunate that many young men and women who could contribute to the task of national reconstruction have had to die prematurely in circumstances some of which could have been avoided if proper driving had been exercised.
It has been estimated that under normal circumstances, a driver makes about 20 major decisions for each mile he drives.
Decision about what you hear and see in connection with other traffic signs must be translated into action involving the brake, the accelerator, the clutch the steering wheel.
During driving, all the organs of the human body are put to use, the brains, ears, hands and legs-practically all the human systems get working. Just as every human activity begins with mobility, therefore, the direction of the movement needs to be controlled.
Accidents are responsible for more deaths in the world today than any other cause apart from cancer and heart diseases. In many countries, accidents, take a greater toll on young lives than any war the world has known so far.
Yet accidents are not chance events, they do not just happen. Every one of them is the outcome of a chain of causes and most of them can be prevented by a little extra vigilance and a few simple precautions. Over 1,000 people worldwide die on the road daily and accidents are the most talked-about and written about.
Not all accidents are accidental; most accidents are avoidable, the prime causes of accidents are largely due to ignorance and carelessness on either the part of the driver or the victim through want of experience of some degree due to immaturity. Most road accidents are attributable to negligence of drivers, pedestrians or cyclists.
Other causes are illness and drug use, over speeding, parking in a curve, ignoring traffic sign and unsatisfactory maintenance of vehicles. Pedestrians are sometimes the cause of accidents. Careless crossing of the road, drunkenness, horse-play on the road and alighting from moving vehicles.
From the personal angle, the law insists on tests for drivers and regular inspection of the safety mechanisms of vehicles.
The effectiveness of the result depends on the extent to which legal prescriptions are applied.
The current rate of road accidents and causalities in the country indicate that motorists need a different approach and driving techniques to upgrade their road safety standards. Therefore, to obtain a license and other documents to become a professional driver, it pre-supposes that the learner – driver is capable of moving a vehicle from one point to the other.
This also implies that the safety of persons and goods on the vehicles must be guaranteed for a period that the journey may last. It is expected, therefore, of the driver to display professional competence and take precautions such as maintaining the vehicle as well as controlling it smoothly to prevent accidents.
Every properly trained driver must ensure regular maintenance and daily services to make the car roadworthy. Apart from the risk at which you place your own self by using an ill-maintained vehicle, you might take a human life or incapacitate someone in an accident or cause much inconvenience to him when he is left stranded in the cause of a journey, when the car breaks down.
Vehicle operators should remember that maintenance of vehicles could be likened to the worshiping of ancestral god, if you defy its orders, you face the consequences, so do you face accidents when you don’t maintain your vehicle well.
In fact, traffic law enforcement is a decisive factor which goes side by side with safety education and contributes towards the development of better human behaviour in relation to road safety. When traffic law enforcers close their eyes on rampant violations, just to lineup their pockets, discipline on our roads and highways cannot be achieved.
Pedestrians also have a duty to perform and that is protecting their own lives. Some pedestrians think that when they are knocked down, the driver would be prosecuted or they would get insurance from the company that insured the vehicle and therefore put their lives at risk.
This is most unfortunate, because when you get knocked down by a car you are left with two alternatives, either you die or you are maimed. Therefore, how does it profit a pedestrian if he gets millions of cedis through insurance and dies or gets his legs or arms amputated.
Ironically, people run shelter-skelter when rain clouds get very dark but they are not disturbed at the approach of vehicles. Even some pedestrians either walk slowly or engage themselves in lengthy conversation when crossing the road.
Before crossing the road, pedestrians must first look both left and right and left again. They should also as much as possible use the pedestrian or zebra crossing and pavements. It is often disheartening to see pedestrians querying a driver for not blowing his horn even though they saw the vehicle approaching.
In fact, courtesy on the road is one of the best accident prevention measures we can adopt.
Dual carriage roads are purposely constructed to ensure speedy and comfortable riding. A driver using it must ensure that he keeps to the nearside all the time unless he is about to overtake a leading vehicle. In a bid to attain these objectives, certain laid-down motor traffic rules and regulations must strictly be adhered to by all motorists.
For example, it is expected of all slow-running vehicles to be restricted to only the outer lane of a dual-carriage road leaving the inner lane for fast running vehicles. Slow-running vehicles should enter the inner lane only when it is intending to use an intersection, which is on the left hand side of the road.
However, any vehicle driver on a dual carriage road which intends to enter a different lane should do so only when it is safe for them to do so. This rule also applies to motorists who like to join an inter-section. Motorists must, furthermore, be warned that under no circumstance should they make a stop in the inner lane of a dual-carriage road.
This means that motorists who intend to stop while using a dual carriage road must do so in the outer lane. Even there, drivers must make sure that their vehicles are driven entirely off the road before making any stop.
Again, it is expected of motorists who are approaching traffic circles to minimize their speed before entering the circle. Motorists who intend going round the circle must drive in the inner lane. They are always advised to give way to the other motorists on their left.
However, if by a common mistake, motorists from an intersection happen to enter the circle whilst there are other vehicles within the circle, those within should exercise restraint for the faulting motorists to drive off.
They should not think that since they are expected to drive off before their colleagues from the intersection, they should by all means drive first. This, if done, can easily avoid accidents on the roads.
It is good to assume that the driver is likely to act foolishly to lead you into danger and, therefore, you must be prepared to contain their danger or avoid it.
For example; if you are following another vehicle, you need NOT drive bumper-to bumper, because the vehicle ahead of you could stop suddenly due to circumstances beyond his control.
The author is a Senior Editor of the Net World Publications (AFRINEWS).