Our regular columnist, Brian Bilal Mwebaze from Uganda, Africa is back with a take on all this youth, road safety and Africa. This month, he places his eye on people who feel the need to overtake everything on the road. Those that need to get there quicker than anyone else and asks the question, "Why?". Check out his latest article.
Depending on which corner of this strange planet you’re in, safer new year 2017, safer valentine’s day, safer women’s day, safer fathers’ day, safer animal rights day, safer independence days, safer Eid, safer Christmas 2017. I have to say all this so I won’t have to say them again for the whole year. 2017 is yet another action packed year giving us a chance to make lives better for ourselves and our future generation:-to do this however, we must be alive making safety a top priority.
There is an old saying “Time is the best litmus test for everything”. But somehow, some self styled ‘experienced’ drivers claim to have unearthed a ground breaking research to shorten time. They have coined it rather a familiar word called ‘Overtaking’. One would think they have earned a PhD in overtaking everything that moves anytime on the road be it cats, cows, dogs, humans and other vehicles. They’re so immaculately consistent at overtaking that they could make Fast & Furious directors mad.
I could over hear him boast of his enviable skills and knowledge. While experience is a valuable asset, he forgets (or pretends) that a public road is not like one in the movies because the later is under controlled conditions.
On a public road, you don’t know what’s going to happen. Some folks hit their indicators going right when they’re actually going left and dare I say, others never indicate. We have got quite a lot of kids crossing on unmarked and ill lit bends on our roads and hey, we’ve got both domestic and wild animals having a conversation on the roads too, especially all across Africa!
You really wonder why these folks overtake all the time irrespective of the road signs and road conditions? Is it a yet unidentified form of cancer? Is it reason enough to say your 10+ years experience on THAT road makes you a professor of overtaking?
Is it that you’re late upon which you should have started your journey much earlier? Or shall we instead blame it on the male hormones (We always do this when we can’t find a better reason!) Overtaking and speeding are rendered husband and wife:-If you drive above the maximum speed limit or you drive too fast for the weather, road and/or traffic conditions, even if the posted speed limit is not exceeded – you are speeding! Speeding is one of the most commonly reported factors associated with crashes, yet, few drivers view speeding as an immediate risk to their personal safety.
It’s perhaps why the UN Road Safety Collaboration is pleased to announce that the Fourth UN Global Road Safety Week 8-14 May 2017 under the theme “Slow Down”, will focus on speed and what can be done to address this key risk factor for road traffic deaths and injuries. Speed contributes to around one-third of all fatal road traffic crashes in high-income countries, and up to half in low- and middle-income countries.
In 2017, the road safety enthusiasts hope you overtake when you must, when it’s safe.