Safety guide for the rainy season
ROAD SAFETY ARTICLE
I don’t know if you followed my series on “Before the Rain Begins”. It was the first time that I took time to guide us on the necessary preparations before the rainy season as predicted by NiMET. I hope you took the time to read the article which ran for two weeks. In the meantime, I don’t know if you believe in Almighty God, the creator and our maker. For me, I do and I know my Muslim brothers do too. This is why I wish to remind you of what is called Faith. Faith, the Bible tells me, comes by hearing and hearing the word of God. The same Bible says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge. Likewise, Chapter 15:55 of the Quran says “But remember, for remembrance benefits the believers”, the Holy Bible and the glorious Quran emphasize the need to be well informed. It is in light of the above and in view of recent past tragedies that I am compelled to reproduce this piece, but with slight modifications.
A few years ago, a dear and inspiring person was crippled by a driver who failed to follow the simple rules of being careful while driving in the rain, especially on unfamiliar roads. What looks like a small mistake caused this lady not only a career but also her mobility as the driver walked away without a scratch. Just recently another person I know died in an accident while driving in the rain. These two painful tragedies and possibly many more, although probably unknown, are the reasons for the reproduction of this piece.
Remember I had shared the story of a pathetic and tragic death of a mother and wife in a road accident along the Abuja airport road. I did not know the coordinates of the mother, nor those of the husband. However, his death, like that of most of the other tragedies often highlighted in my weekly column, was caused by driving error. The woman, if you recall, had flown from the UK to Abuja without a hitch. When she arrived, she called the husband who in turn, perhaps due to another pressing appointment, asked a taxi driver to pick her up. During the 45 minute drive from Abuja airport, the driver, upon noticing a trailer, instinctively tried to avoid it, but unfortunately crashed into the trailer with the woman and she died. The driver was injured and alive.
The first question I asked was: was it raining? How fast was he driving at the time of the accident? What path was he on? The speed (left lane) or the slow lane (right lane)? Was the trailer stopped? How bad was the visibility? Unfortunately, no one was there to answer me because the woman was dead and the driver hospitalized.
These questions and many more are the reasons for this piece. As we experience heavy downpours daily across the country, according to Revised High Cod, this is more difficult and dangerous as visibility is blurred by weather conditions such as mist, fog, harmattan haze or other related factors .
Remember that even before the start of the rainy season, some roads were being repaired or were inadequate. Also remember that there could be broken down vehicles or even slow moving vehicles with faulty lighting systems. Also remember that your vehicle could suddenly break down, a tire could burst, brake failure, electrical system malfunction; and any faults may develop. There may even be fallen trees on the road.
Before you start, ask yourself if this trip is really necessary? Are you in the right frame of mind to make the trip? Also check the minimum security status of your vehicle. When was it last serviced? What is the quality of your sight? What is the condition of your tyres, windscreen wipers and windshields? Never underestimate the dangers. Make sure your lights are working, your windshields are in good condition, and your windshield wipers are in perfect working order. Remember that the road is not your personal property; you share the road with others, including heavy-duty vehicles. These heavy vehicles generally require longer distances to stop and would require even more distance in rain or bad weather.
Rule number one would require that your knowledge of defensive driving techniques be put to good use for your safety and the safety of others. You should always slow down, keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you and always be ready to stop in your line of sight and avoid potential blind spots. Your overall stopping distance is the distance your car travels between when you realize you need to brake and when the vehicle stops. It is made up of the reflection distance and the braking distance. You should never approach closer than the overall stopping distance. On wet roads, the gap should be much larger. Stopping distance increases dramatically with wet and slippery roads, bad brakes, bad testing and tired drivers.
Since visibility is reduced in bad weather, while driving, seeing and being seen is a must at these times. In fact, 80% of driving information comes from visibility. Visibility influences reaction time. Although motorist misbehavior and natural influences cannot be completely eliminated, safety is enhanced by creating visibility of obstacles, especially when it is raining. This is essential in the absence of adequate pavement markings that reflect. In the absence of such signs to guide a driver who may not know the road he is driving on, headlights must be used to aid visibility.