Kolawole Ajayi: How Drivers Can Prevent Unsafe and Irrational Road Attitudes

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Among the different modes of transportation worldwide, road transportation is the most accessible and cheapest. In Nigeria, over 90 per cent of Nigerians use the road daily to move from one place to the other. Despite the associated risks such as kidnappings, bad roads, delays, crashes, deaths, and injuries, it remains the most commonly used mode of transportation in Nigeria. Unfortunately, many of the drivers who use the roads display irrational and unsafe attitudes, which further complicates this already overburdened mode of transportation and leads to more deaths and damage to the infrastructure. While these drivers may not be aware of their attitudes, they must understand the serious consequences of their actions. There are various unsafe and irrational attitudes displayed by drivers which they, and other road users, need to be enlightened on.

Driving without the use of a seatbelt

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), nine out of ten of the 1.3 million annual deaths from road crashes occur in low and middle-income countries, where the use of vehicle occupant restraints remains low. They further state that seatbelt usage is below 50% in the WHO African Region and below 40% in the South East Asian Region. It is disheartening that in this day and age, we still need to extensively educate people on the importance of using seatbelts when in a vehicle. We are at a point where everyone must come together to put an end to this problem.

Speeding when joining a new road

Whenever I see drivers joining a new road at high speed, it makes me wonder and question their sanity. When merging onto a new road, we should drive slowly and carefully, while also yielding to the right of way. What we often see is people driving at high speed to merge into a lane. This not only puts their own lives at risk but also endangers the lives of other drivers who are simply following the traffic rules.

Flagrant disobedience to traffic lights

Drivers in major cities in Nigeria are increasingly ignoring government-installed traffic lights. They do so without considering the potential danger to other road users. They even go as far as honking and threatening those who obey the traffic lights in these cities. 

The act of steering with one hand

This is not illegal of any sort, but doing it longer than usual becomes unsafe and dangerous. Drivers can choose to drive with one hand on the wheel, but they should understand that they are putting themselves and others around them at risk. 

Increasing the car speed when being overtaken

I’ve observed and realized that increasing one’s speed when being overtaken has become a part of the driving culture. It is wrong and unsafe. I have seen Nigerian drivers do this on any road they drive on. Some do it for fun, while the majority do it out of sheer wickedness. Either way, we need to discourage this dangerous act and ensure that people can drive to their destinations safely. Similarly, drivers hardly give right of way. It seems every driver is on default angry mode. We get angry at the flimsy actions of other drivers and road users. This isn’t the best way to go when driving on public roads. The road belongs to all citizens. Pedestrians, cyclists, vulnerable road users, and, in fact, animals too have the right of way.

Some drivers go as far as deliberately driving below the speed limit in the fast lane, while some drive dangerously fast in service lanes. While you have the right of way on the lane you are on, it is logical to know that others too have the right to drive safely without any form of hindrance on the same road. You can only influence other people’s actions; you can never control their actions. Your reaction to people’s actions is within your power, so do everything possible to be nice to all road users.


Feature image by Cotton Bro for Pexels

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