It is time for Christmas and New Year festivities. It is a period when individuals withdraw the money they have been saving since January for a shopping spree or to go to the village to show off.
The effect of this disposition is felt on the roads when it is time to travel. While the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, the Police and the three tiers of government may have one thing or the other to do to prevent road accidents in the season, vehicle owners and drivers need to take certain steps.
In November, the Police, FRSC in Benin, the Edo State capital, decided to partner to reduce road accidents, as Christmas and the New Year approach. This collaboration, according to the Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG, in charge of Zone 5, Benin City, Edo State, Mr. Aashinue Salihu Argungu, and the FRSC Zonal Commanding Officer RS5, Mr. Wole George Olaniran, was to enable them tackle gridlocks in crash prone routes in the state during the period. The FRSC zone comprises Edo, Delta and Anambra states, while that of the police zone five include Edo and Delta states respectively.
Also on 11 December 2012, the Kogi Deputy Governor, Mr. Yomi Awoniyi, said the government was working with the FRSC to ensure free flow of traffic during the festivities. He revealed this at a sensitisation seminar organised by Kogi Command of the FRSC for staff of the Deputy Governor’s Office in Lokoja. Awoniyi argued that traffic build-up contributed to accidents because of fatigue, over-speeding and loss of control. While Awoniyi promised that efforts would be made to eliminate traffic during the festive period, he added that government was mindful of the speed limits and condition of vehicles in the country. He called on the people travelling across the state “to drive with patience to get to their destinations safely. This is because slow and steady driving is more preferable to dangerous driving that kills.”
Also Assistant Sector Commander, Mr. Godwin Aworawo, who represented the Sector Commander, Mr. Mohammed Garba, said the high volume of traffic on roads in Kogi was due to the state’s linkage with about 21 states.
This is the crux of the matter. While the Police, FRSC and governments are doing what they can to avert road mishaps, the major responsibility lies with all road users.
We advise that Nigerians should stop overspeeding on the roads, not only during Christmas but always. This is because a vehicle can easily be manoeuvred during emergency when the speed is low.
There is also the necessity for Nigerians to stop using mobile phones while driving. This is not only because the law enforcement agents will frown at this but because our safety is more paramount.
Another bad habit to shelve is consumption of alcohol before driving.
Before embarking on major trips this season, we advise that vehicle owners should check their brake pads to be sure that they are still good. And who says it is compulsory to travel during Chrismas? It is also important to know the FRSC Toll-Free -Emergency No coded “122” which enables the FRSC to respond to distress calls when dialled on the major GSM networks.