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Kill bad driving before it kills you

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Kill bad driving before it kills you

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BY MUZODO NOBERT

MUTARE

A motor vehicle is as lethal as a loaded weapon.If in wrong hands,it has the potential to prematurely end the life of its driver or any other innocent person.Bad driving along our roads include speeding,overtaking error,following too close,driving under the influence of alcohol and using cellphones whilst driving .There are a number of legislative inactments which are in place to regulate motor vehicle’s fitness,qaulifications for one to be a driver and   proper road use.It is paramount to note that there are several factors one should consider before using a motor vehicle on any road.Factors include the road worthiness of the vehicle,the preparedness of the driver,the road condition,the whether condition among other host of factors.These factors have to be seriously considered by all road users such that passenger safety, pedestrian safety as well as the motoring public ‘s safety is assured.It is vital for wl road users to note that causes of road traffic accidents could be attributed to human error or mechanical fault.

According to the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe,ninety percent of known causes of road traffic accidents are due to human error thereby leaving out a small percentage to other known causes such as mechanical fault ,eg as brake failure.This calls for a change in attitude on the part of human element.Education through awareness remains a vital cog coupled with road engineering but to spice it up human compliance is a necessity.Therefore ,killing bad driving on our roads has to be each and every driver’s job.

Road users must take heed of all information fed to them which awakens them to proper road use for the prevention of road traffic injuries and deaths.Speeding is one such error that thrills but kills.Experts agree that speeding increases chances of road accident as well as the seriousness of the resultant crash.The higher the speed the more the likelihood of a car crash as well as the seriousness of damages to property and injury to human beings.

Interestingly,as one’s driving speed increases ,the distance covered during travelling also increases .Resultantly,this has a bearing towards the driver’s reaction time and causes most drivers to engage in unspeakable struggles to bring the motor vehicle to a halt since speeding increases the distance needed to stop the vehicle.The ensuing struggle to bring the vehicle under proper control is a mamoth task which requures extra physical and mental stamina from the driver.Sadly,chances of avoiding a crash under the given circumstances are slim.After observing the imminent danger,the speed and gear being travelled at will not be good enough to bring the car under control.Therefore,drivers need to take heed and engage a cautious speed.

After the occurrence of a road traffic accident,we always wonder as to why the police labour to reconstruct the scene of a road traffic accident as they draw the sketch plan of the accident.This is done to establish if there is any blameworthiness on the part of the driver.The law expects all road drivers to drive with due care and attention.Where there is no due care and attention,the law then alleges that the driver exhibited some negligence by failing to avoid the occurence of an accident .According to the Road Traffic Act ,Chapter 13:11 and the Road Motor Transportation Act,Chapter,13:17 there are number of offences that can be preferred against erran drivers,especially after an an avoidable accident.These include driving without due care and attention,negligence driving,reckless driving to mention just but a few.There are speeding offences as well as passenger carriage offences.The intention of the law is to promote individual as well as general deterrence on errant drivers.However,deterrence alone without compliance does not avoid occurrence of accidents .Drivers need to avoid speeding at all costs.

Travelling at excessive speed in given circumstances is an offence in most countries around the world .In Zimbabwe ,speeding is regulated by the law.There is a speed limit allowed by the law for road vehicles.This limit is set  by relevent bodies either at local or national level.

During festive seasons such as christmas holidays,volumes of both human and vehecular traffic inreases as people will be travelling for different purposes.It is the same time of the year that a lot of lives are lost due to road traffic crushes caused by speeding .Public Service Vehicles ,buses in particular, are usully seen flying past other road users .The speed will be akin to that of an electric train.This is made worse by poor road conditions which currently characterises our roads.Loud cries by desperate and overloaded passangers fall on deaf and stubborn ears of seemily drunken drivers.Prayerfully,passengers glue themselves to their seats ,watching helplessly as the bus crashes ,killing most its passengers.Not only do passengers plead with speeding drovers but some are shamefully heard cheering speeding drivers sighting being delayed.This is uncalled for,its a bad behaviour on the part of passengers.

To curb the manace of speeding,the The Ministry Of Transport And Infrastructural Development saw it fit to come up with  a law that limits speed of Public Service Vehicles through a speeding device.Statutory instrument 118 of 2023 makes it mandatory for all Public Service vehicles to be fitted with speed limiters and monitors.Bus operators whose drivers are accelerator happy will be regulated to a speed of not exceeding 100 km/h.

This move must be applauded as one of the most effective way of ensuring safety on our roads.Experts agree that speed reduction by motorist has a remarkable bearing towards road accident reduction.The relevent law enforcement agents must play their vital role of enforcing compliance. Our police is empowered to detect ,inestigate and prevent all road accidents and enforce laws that ensure proper road use.The Traffic Safety Council promotes road traffic safety through education,publici as well as training,especially defensive driving.

This festive season ,like any other season,our roads are going to have a high volume of motoring public.The high volume itself serves as an early warning sign to all of us that if we do not exercise due care and attention on our roads we end up adding up to the statistics of road carnage.One defensive driving instructor once opined ,that driving is an art which requires perfection and this art enables one to be able to drive a motor vehicle safely from one point to the next irregardless of how bad other road users will be.

Our highway code reminds us that Zimbabwe is a cattle country.This calls for drivers to keep a proper look out for animals on the road .Those who did science agree that a tarred road absorb heat by day and emit the same heat by night.Cattle being cattle are attracted to this warmth by night hence the need to drive at a safe speed always.It is not surprising to hear a black cow narrative in sole party accidents.In addition to this,it has to be anticipated that by day cattle prefer to graze by tarred road side.Common sense,though not common to many,has it that animals are animals and lack human instincts and therefore subjectively extreme care is called for along our highway.Drivers are to drive cautiously and keep a proper look out.

A good driver must plan his journey on time and make himself acquainted with the terrain he is likely going to vavigate.The geography of each region in Zimbabwe makes it unique and a prior knowledge of the road terrain makes one a safe driver.As we drive,we meet law enforcemnt agents they must act as tour guude to you.This applies to both public transport and private transport.In addition to familiarisation,one should avoid over familiarisation  too.This causes drivers to forget about dangers that may emanate from other road users like broken down vehicles blocking free passage.

It is possible to safely drive through the meandering and sharp  curved but scenic Nyanga,Vhumba and Chimanimani roads in Mutare.Holiday makers are attracted to Nyanga National park,Mutarazi falls Vhumba heights and the famous Leapard Rock Hotel. Though the idea of spending one or two nights from home is welcoming,danger lurks in these scenic  steep ascends and descends ,calling for one to remember how to properly engage low gears since an ommission towards proper gear engagement invites for a conflict with the machine called a motor vehicle.The struggle that ensues in trying to bring the vehicle under proper control can only be narrated as a near death escape that is if one lives to narrate.A motor vehicle,being as lethal as as it known to be ,must be maintained in a serviceable condition,with essential components such as tyres,brakes,wipers,indicators,horn all serviacable.This is good for all road users.

As a good reminder to all,most accidents are avoidable if road users take heed of warnings to take exercise caution and be aware of hazards that are found on our roads such as potholes and flooded bridges In addition,bloodbath resulting from overtaking errors ,especially at curves ,prohibited lines,long chain of vehicles is discouraged .Taking heed of this call  is a recipe for survival.Like our elders say he who gives you a warning about imminent danger is yours .Let’s kill bad driving before it kills you or any other innocent person.

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