The number of people who died on our roads in the first half of 2021 stands at 1,450, way more than the number of people who died due to Covid-19 in the last 15 months. Grim stats? Blame it on our incompetent leaders and state officials, corrupt politicians, drivers not obeying traffic rules and basic driving etiquette, and piss poor roads. Throw in superstition as well.
I know a house located right beside a major road with cars crushing into it almost every year. And they rebuilt it every time without finding a way to stop cars breaking through the concrete into somebody’s bedroom. The occupant went out to urinate minutes earlier and that’s what saved him.
Maybe they offered prayers to appease the god or ghost or goblin causing the accidents, and he just doesn’t want to play ball. I wonder why people build houses close to the roadside. The road is older than the house. Seems nothing works in this country. I am aware of multiple accidents happening at the same spot and you will always have some people reading superstitious meanings into it.
Maybe the house is cursed. Maybe there is some spirit around there that loves drinking human blood. I don’t know about that. What I know is that this house is located at a part of the road that curves and cars always seem to underestimate the curvature and get running off the road to crash into the wall.
If there is any spirit causing such accidents, it is the driver who tries negotiating a curve at top speed, the devil is the people still building new houses dead close to major roads. Most of our accidents are caused by bad roads and bad driving attitudes, not spirits or witches. And getting drivers to fix their attitude will not be enough. We need to fix our roads as well. We need to fix the system. And we need leaders who are interested in fixing our roads rather than only fixing their family and friends.
I’ve said this before and it probably sounds like a broken record now: Make “‘Driving” a course to be studied at the tertiary level. Give it to the universities to run and get our potential drivers taking basic courses in ethics, philosophy, sociology, critical thinking, logical thinking, etc. We need intelligent drivers on our roads. We need better-behaved drivers. We need drivers with the best attitudes.
Tertiary education, if it is good enough and well structured, gives you some cool-headedness, patience, tolerance, quick thinking, better thinking, and some form of competence in whatever you do. If tertiary education has not made you a better thinker and a better-behaved person, then you should have stayed home.
Fix the education system for drivers. Fix our driving schools. Fix our roads.
Folks, the last three months of the year is the point where road accidents reach a crescendo. If you are a driver, be wary. Any other driver on the road can be an idiot and do something reckless to harm you and other roads users. You can control your attitude on the road, but not other people’s attitudes.
If you are a passenger, you have the responsibility to monitor your driver and to ask him to stop if he starts doing anything stupid on the road, including unnecessary overtaking and excessive speeding. We all need to be vigilant to ensure that the months leading up to the Christmas festivities and the remaining days of the year does not take our road accident deaths beyond 3000.
Stay safe, be aware of your surroundings, don’t walk around with your eyes buried in your phone, and speak to stop evil.
Let’s do this.
By Stan Dugah