Attitude change, discipline and maturity on our roads are key in reducing roads fatalities.
Road carnage have become too common an occurrence on our roads. We whine a short while, attend to causalities, embark on a recovery path and life goes on. The wounds recurs with another incident. Altogether, Kenyan drivers are a resilient lot.
The ‘roho juu’ attitude is the driving principle. If you are faint hearted, your place is in the desolate zones. Even if adept, one is unsure of his/her safety even in known routes. The safety dynamics on our roads are totally unpredictable.
Think of the numbers of irregular, inexpertly community erected bumps always mushrooming without a warning or alert or signage. If oblivious of them, they can be disastrous. Surprisingly even those erected by skilled personnel’s fall short of safety measures.
One wonders, whether these omissions are deliberate or intentional considering that the singular critical aspects on the road, is safety for all. During the just ended long rainy season, some roads were cut off and others blocked following incidents of flooding and landslides.
To date, painted barrels still stands in most of those section as safeguard. Some of those drums aren’t reflective and therefore not visible at night. Woe unto you, if you are a first timer on such a route and it happens to be at night. You won’t like it at all.
The hazards are so real and glaring. Few are the newly done roads that are complete, with markings and signage. Still, earlier ones have their markings fading away. A number have risky potholes, steep rumble bumps and worn out edges.
It’s upsetting when instruments of safety cease being the guiding tools to road users and get converted into means of extortion. Road signs facilitates road users to make informed decisions while on the road. While enforcing the Highway Code and regulations, the extortionist approach attached to it should be avoided and so is the inconsistences in their enforcements.
There is this widely held perception that road accidents occurs due to on and off road human error or faulty automobiles. As much as I concur with this view, let’s not forget other overlooked safety aspects; road conditions and presence of substandard spare parts. Strangely, too many fatal accidents are linked to tyre bursts, yet obvious inaction towards this end.
Metallic road signs and guard rails are vandalised and sold as scrap metals. Widespread roadside cultivation and over grown vegetation, erection of signposts on road reserves both of which obstructs visibility.
Roadside grazing poses unnecessary risk to road users. Not forgetting the donkey carts and the un-roadworthy tractors that operates under the thick of darkness.
Duty to care, observing safety measures as stipulated in the Highway Code, adequate road signage and markings, communities’ safeguarding public assets within their locality against vandalism and security agents securing our roads are some of the aspects that will guarantee enhanced safety, early warning and advance alerts thus minimising probable exposures. Likewise, we should cultivate a culture of discipline and maturity in our motoring. Safety measure is when everyone does his/her duty to care.
Kiragu Kariuki, Nyeri County.