Most cities have an increased vehicular traffic every Christmas season because of people travelling en masse during the holidays.
Since people overbook most airlines this season, it forces others to travel using road transport, and this might increase the chances of road accidents.
We have compiled a few tips for you to implement to stay safe on the road this Christmas.
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If You Are Driving
Confirm the state of your route in advance
No matter how often you ply a route, always make enquiries from someone who has just used that route to know its state before you embark on your journey. For example, the Benin- Sapele federal road used to be a roughly 45 minutes drive but since the roads went bad, it has become a 4-hour journey because of traffic and the ongoing road maintenance by FERMA. Knowing the state of the route enables you to factor in time difference, plot a route you are sure is safe, and prepare adequately for the journey.
Keep your car in top shape
Make sure you service your car weeks before your trip. Top up your fuel tank and other car fluids (engine oil, brake fluid, and water for the radiator). Ensure your brakes and lights are working well, tyres are in a good state, car filters and wipers function right, and all your FRSC car requirements (fire extinguisher, car papers/documents, and spare tyre) are in your car.
Don’t drink and drive doesn’t just refer to alcohol. The emphasis has been on alcohol because if taken in excess a day before, it still has the power to impair your driving and reasoning. But drinking water or soft drinks while on the wheel is just as dangerous as texting, receiving calls or using your phone while driving. Even when you take look at Google maps or GPS trackers while driving on high speed, it’s just as dangerous. Anything that takes your eyes off the road is a distraction that you must avoid.
Practise defensive driving
Defensive driving involves using a set of driving strategies or skills to anticipate and protect yourself from potential sources of accidents. It prepares you against dangers such head-on collision, bad drivers, and poor weather. Defensive driving is more than basic traffic laws like driving within the speed limit and obeying road signs (which you must practice if you want to be safe). It includes an understanding of the right of way, the three seconds rule, knowing your vehicle’s stoppage distance, and being aware of reaction distance.
If You Are Using Public Transport
Don’t hitchhike or use transport from unknown roadside parks
Sometimes there may be no car in the park and the wait for the next vehicle might be discomforting. Rather than hitchhiking with a stranger or going to a roadside park you haven’t vetted, reschedule the trip or be patient. The risks accompanying the previous option far outweigh the challenges of the latter. If you can, hire a saloon car from a reputable transport line and travel. It might be expensive but at least you’ll get to your destination in one piece.
Inform someone of your whereabouts
Because FERMA (Federal Road Maintenance Agency) is rehabilitating roads on 123 routes around Nigeria, public transport drivers will pass through ikoro (shortcuts) to get to their destination on time. This comes with its own risks. So be sure to inform your friends or family about your location before, during and after your journey.
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Pack an emergency kit to avoid cases of being stranded. Whether you are driving or using a means of public transport, always have an emergency kit with you. For those driving, the kit should contain items you can use if you run into problems like having a flat tyre unexpectedly or get involved in an accident. For those using public transport, your kit should include first aid items and things you can use for a sleepover if you can’t make it to your destination on time.
Featured image source: Naija Car News
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