Road Safety Vital

| April 17, 2015

Staying safe on the road is everyone’s responsibility and should be promoted at all times.

In a bid to sensitise Batswana on how to stay safe on the road and avoid traffic accidents that have swallowed many citizens, Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund customer service officer, Mr Michael Molebo has told BOPA that on average Botswana recorded 18 169 crashes each year.

He said human error accounted for about 95 per cent of all these crashes, while the road accounted for three per cent and the vehicle two per cent. Moreover, he pointed out that in Botswana, excessive speed had been identified as a long outstanding and significant contributing factor to death and injury.

“Drivers should treat speed limits as a maximum value not to be exceeded they should at all cost avoid driving at high speed because it is difficult to avoid a road crash at such a speed,” he pointed out.

To avoid possible crashes caused by over-speeding, he aised road users to plan their trips well in time and adhere to stipulated speed restrictions.

Mr Molebo said that before undertaking a trip, a driver should make sure that their vehicle has been serviced and is roadworthy.Other factors that the driver should consider, he said is to leave earlier for their destination, always wear a seat belt to avoid being ejected out of the car in the event of a road mishap, avoid distraction at all costs, stay alert, and watch out for other road users and animals.”

It is important for drivers to avoid distraction, and if they have to use a cellphone it is aisable for them to stop by the road side they should also not listen to loud music,” he said.

Mr Molebo said that if the driver felt tired, they must pull over and have a rest because fatigue is a common problem in both short and long distance driving.

“It can be defined as a loss of alertness which eventually ends in sleep, and this loss of alertness is accompanied by poor judgment, slower reactions to events and decreased skill such as in vehicle control,” he said.

Fatigue, which can result from little sleep or arduous work, affects the efficiency, effectiveness and safety of a driver’s performance in carrying out the driving,” he explained, adding that the problem can be avoided by getting enough sleep prior to travelling long distance stopping for sometime during the journey to regain strength avoiding drinking alcohol before or during the journey as drinking alcohol may aggravate fatigue and staying overnight rather than driving through the night.

Mr Molebo stressed that when driving motorists should be patient, considerate and courteous as well as respect one another and preserve the gift of life.

Furthermore, he said that they must neither react to provocation by other drivers nor attempt to provoke them they must also not flash their lights or use their horns unnecessarily also, he aised that they must at all times obey traffic road signs.According to Mr Molebo, the responsibility of ensuring safety on the road does not only lie on the driver, but that passengers also have the responsibility of ensuring safety on the road.

“Passengers also have a role to play to ensure road safety. They should take responsibility of their lives and say no to a drunken driving.

He noted that passengers are the most affected in road crashes as such they should fasten their seat belts at all times they should also aise the driver when he is not driving well as his mistakes could cost them their lives.

Also, he said that they should resort to using public transport as it is safer than hitch-hiking.According to Mr Molebo, children constitute a large number of pedestrians and motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death among children in Botswana.

He said that many of these deaths can be prevented by placing children in age and size appropriate car seats and booster seats as they reduce serious and fatal injuries in cases of a crash.

For pedestrians, Mr Molebo said that they must use designated pedestrian crossing at all times, walk on the right hand side shoulder of the road at all times, and wear visible clothing at night.

Further, he pointed out that pedestrians must never underestimate the speed of oncoming traffic while attempting to cross the road and that they should always wait until the road is clear.

He added that they must never assume right of way at pedestrian crossings and should wait until the vehicle has stopped before crossing the road.

Mr Molebo urged all road users to always remember that road safety is everyone’s business and pleaded with them to play their different roles in ensuring road safety and contribute in reducing the number of fatalities and that of people severely injured in road crashes each year.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: General

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