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Opinions of Thursday, 20 January 2011

Columnist: Agyemang, Frank

Road Madness in Ghana, we are all not safe

How come a truck could run over school pupils at a Zebra crossing where we were once taught at school to be the safest place to cross a road? Indeed, we are all not safe if this could happen at a pedestrians crossing leading to the loss of lives. It means it could have happened at a traffic light junction.
Basic driving lesson or even common sense is expected to guide drivers to be cautious at pedestrian crossings hence cause them to slow down. This is not the case for most drivers.

The increased spate of road accidents on our roads call for a renewed campaign against reckless and inconsiderate driving on our roads. Driving around town these days is so scary yet it seems we are all taking things for granted, talking of both pedestrians and drivers. You don’t know whom to trust or have some confidence in, be it commercial or private drivers.
It is during these risky times that I find it relevant to recollect what my driving instructor at Mac Ashley taught me. Mr. Annan advised that any time one is behind the driving steer, one should consider him or herself as the only ‘Normal’ driver on the street and all others ‘Abnormal’ including the pedestrians. It simply implies that one should not think or hope that the driver before or behind you is wise enough to give all the appropriate signals and notices to make the right decision. In the same manner, the pedestrian standing by could at anytime cross the street without promptings.
This kind of thinking makes one to be extra careful to the extent that one becomes proactive and defensive on the road with consideration to the pedestrians too. This mentality helps one to pose questions such as; What if the oncoming driver is drunk or sleeping behind the steer? What if he is on a suicide mission? What if that driver approaching from the corner enters the main road unannounced? What if that truck before me reverses without control whiles uphill? What if the pedestrian decides to cross the road without any notice?
The above listed questions and a host of others could help one behave responsibly and defensively on the road, be it a driver or a pedestrian.
I have realised that on the road, you as a driver or a pedestrian could be very right, have the right to cross or move on, obey all the regulations and yet get an accident simply because you thought the other party could have recognised your right. That is no more the case.

The situation now calls for extra care from all road users bearing in mind that there are indeed ‘mad’ people on our roads. It is no more about who is right or wrong because for all you know, several people have been wrongfully killed on our roads. What then do you do when in sticking to you rightful position on the road you get an avoidable accident?

Next time you are on the road, please don’t be sure of the driver or the pedestrian. He or she could really be ‘mad’ or on a suicide mission. Drive defensively because Ghana needs you alive.

Frank Agyemang
PRO, Reroy cables Ltd.
agyemangfrank@gmail.com