Unfortunately, we’re seeing more fatal accidents in recent days.
While the cause of many of these accidents may never be known, there are some areas that can be addressed to further increase safety on our roads.
Some of our roads are obviously risky given landslides, shooting stones, and the road design given the rugged terrain.
And while vast improvements are being made in improving driving behaviour, going by the number of accidents, both fatal and non-fatal, there is a need for further improvements.
While road design, given the terrain, may be unaddressable in the short term, changes in driving behaviour can be changed now.
Our traffic police are already doing a commendable job with their periodic and surprise highway checks. No doubt these have made drivers more cautious and law abiding thereby reducing the amount of accidents on our highways.
However, there are still some dangerous driving habits occurring on our highways such as drivers attempting to take over on blind corners, not using their rear-view and side mirrors and failing to indicate before they turn or stopping abruptly.
Temporarily parking on blind corners and other high risk areas, endangering vehicles that have to venture into the opposite lane, are some other dangerous practises.
Speeding, using the mobile phone while driving, and tail gaiting still occur.
One way to curb such dangerous driving practises would be for concerned agencies to have mobile teams patrolling the highways. Obviously seeing a check point up ahead would instil good behaviour in the driver which could then be discarded after crossing it. But the thought of mobile teams patrolling the highways and catching unsuspecting motorists in the act could ensure longer periods of safe driving habits.
However, while mobile patrols would be an important part of the strategy, if the cause of the dangerous driving habits are left unaddressed, we would only be treating the symptoms.
There is a need for safer driving habits to be instilled at the training level, and then tested during the process to acquire a driving license. While the “box test” is an important measure of skill, with the increasing number of vehicles in the country, it has become equally important to test whether a driver knows how to lane drive, use their mirrors, over take safely and stop at zebra crossings, among many other practises.
By focusing on improving these habits now, we can reduce the risk of accidents on our roads.