There are many ways we endanger our lives on a daily basis because of ignorance, and refusing to follow road safety rules is one of them. Have you noticed the number of people who use their phones while driving? It is rather alarming! Road users are usually engrossed with their phones or are with their earpiece on instead of paying close attention to their surroundings and this has caused a lot of accidents in recent times.
There are also cases where parents drive vehicles with kids on their laps or place them between their bodies and the steering. Or a mother sits on the passenger seat with a child on her lap and a child of about five years is left ‘unguarded’ playing in the passenger’s (front) seat. These scenarios are dangerous and they put children at risk.
This Global Road Safety week, we will like to remind parents about the measures you have to take to protect yourself and your family while you are on the road.
1. Avoid using headphones or earpiece while you are driving or on the road!
Headphones, earpiece and smartphones appear to be our one saving grace when we are stuck in traffic or taking that lonely walk across the street. They make travelling easy and working out more fun, they also appear to help us get to our destination faster. However, being preoccupied while driving or crossing the road is unsafe and can cause accidents.
2. Do not text while driving!
Driving and texting do not go hand in hand. Texting while driving or making use of headphones or earpiece while driving and crossing the road are distracting and may sometimes lead to “inattentional blindness “. In this case, it becomes easy to miss details when you are not looking out for them.
Drivers look but do not see because they are distracted by conversation. Interruptions to driving, such as answering a call, are likely to be more dangerous if they occur during maneuvers like merging to exit a freeway. You focus on your phone and become blind to the unexpected. When driving, avoid distractions!
Safety precautions to take note of when there are children in the car
Mustafa Yusuf-Adebola, a social commentator and writer has put together the most important road safety and traffic rules for parents below
3. Get a child safety seat:
Seat belts in vehicles are typically designed for adults only. As a result, safety seats for children are specially designed to help in preventing accidents and reducing the effects of sudden brakes or bumps on children aged 7/8 years and below.
4. Back seats are strictly for children:
Some parents place their kids on their laps in the front seat – this is a no-no! Till your child turns 12, do not let children seat in the front even though they have seat belts strapped on. This also applies to some parents who leave their children unguarded in the front seat. Almost every car has seat recommendations that “the back seat is the safest place for children”. Also, “never put a rear-facing child seat in the front”.
Air bags are located on the dashboard and pose a risk to the safety of children should they explode as their brains have not developed enough to withstand the impact of such explosions. Should a car hit you from behind, the child could hit his/her head on the dashboard or even the windscreen.
5. Use ‘Child on Board’ warnings:
Though the original intention of such warnings are to notify emergency rescue workers about the presence of a baby (with special needs like autism etc.). In the event of an incident, the sign is now also used to inform other vehicles why the driver could be driving slowly or not as fast!
As ridiculous as this may sound, the reality of its use in a city like Lagos with so many inpatient drivers suffering from road rages serves more like a learner driver’s L sign.
Going back to the original purpose, children may be too stunned or have pacifiers on their mouths and rescuers may not be aware of their presence. Hence the need to have these signs.
6 Wind up your windows:
Children could be playful and try out different stunts. If the car A/C is not in use, do not wind down the car windows to the end. Ensure there is a little space that prevents the child from popping out his/her head or waving hands outside. Similarly, if the car has a central control of the rear windows at the power window/door lock controls, use it.
7. Do not leave children alone in the car:
As kidnapping becomes a common recurrence, be careful not to leave children alone in cars or have them out of sight. Also, mistakenly locking a child in a car can lead to suffocation. Read more on Why you should not leave your child in the car.
It is never too expensive to be cautious but it could be costly to be negligent. Follow these steps to safeguard your children and yourself while using the road. Do you have any other road safety tips? Share with us