Most people believe they are good drivers but according to the World Health Organisation’s Global report, between 3000- 13000 people perish in road accidents every year. These are highly disturbing numbers considering the stringent measures put in place to ensure road users are safe.
To help reduce the numbers of fatal road accidents, always adhere to the traffic rules and keep your focus on the road.
Here are some of the habits that you should avoid when driving.
1. Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs
Driving while intoxicated not only puts you at risk but also other road users. It is one of the most common causes of road accidents. In Kenya, the legal blood alcohol concentration limit for driving is 0.35 grams per litre of breath or 0.8 grams per litre of blood.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is punishable by law. You can get arrested and charged in court. Avoid drunk driving. If you plan on drinking with your friends or family, have a designated sober driver or leave your car safely parked and hail a cab.
2. Distracted driving
More often than not, you may feel tempted to take your eyes off the road. It could be to drink or eat something, or to use your phone. In that split second that you take your eyes off the road, you could be endangering yourself and other road users.
Distracted driving contributes to increased road accidents. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the steering wheel. If you need to pick a call, eat, drink or groom just pull off the road and take your time.
3. Disobeying the traffic lights
Traffic rules are there to help you and other road users. When you fail to wait for the traffic lights to change or indicate that you are turning, you confuse other road users and are bound to cause an accident.
Imagine the scene if all drivers drove past the red lights or did not indicate that they are turning. It would be a circus. Always obey the traffic lights and indicate when you need to take a turn. Those sudden manoeuvres can be fatal since there is no way to predict a driver’s next move.
Speeding is probably the most common cause of road accidents. People are always chasing something. You may be trying to beat the curfew, get to work on time or sometimes beat the rush hour traffic. However, you need to remember, the speed limits in Kenya are 50 km/h in town and 110 km/h outside of towns. Therefore, pace yourself when you are driving.
If you need to be somewhere early, leave on time and avoid speeding. When you speed, it becomes very hard to change lanes, stop and even turn. Slow down and learn to adjust your speed for the road you are using and the type of car.
5. Failure to give right of way
As a driver, you have probably learned that there are special occasions where you must give right of way. For instance, when there is a wailing ambulance, animals crossing the road or even pedestrians at a zebra crossing.
A lot of drivers refuse to give way and zip past the pedestrian crossing causing a scare. When you fail to give way you are bound to cause an accident. Be patient, follow the simple rules of giving way and stay safe.
We all need to work together to ensure road safety. Be attentive at all times when driving, obey traffic signs and be cautious. You do not need to arrive fast but rather to arrive alive. Please take care and stay safe.