Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

Namibia: This Week in the Khuta - a Safe Holiday for Everyone

column

My favourite time of the year is finally here and I am soo happy to see my family after such a hectic year. I am however concerned about all the horrible connotations that come with December, especially the many lives we lose during this period.

It is during December alone that many lives are lost on our roads. Even though time and again there are many campaigns aimed at road safety, the road carnage is still on the increase. So what exatly is going wrong? What can we as Namibians do to avoid becoming the next statistics? I decided to come up with a few suggestions and safety tips for all and sundry to make this festive season a safe one.

First and foremost, to all drivers out there who know for sure they will be having one too many during a night out, please make sure you get a designated driver before you embark on a suicide mission. By designated I mean a driver who not only stays sober but also isn't very keen on drinking alcohol. I know many of these designated drivers are rare to find in the country especially at this time of the year but if you do happen to get one, you are sure to be on the right track.

It's December and by all means, roads heading to the coast as well as the north and eastern north will be packed with travellers, so for those of you who do decide to travel please make sure your vehicles are roadworthy and that every passenger including the driver is buckled up. It is statistically proven that speeding is the major cause of many road accidents so it is only befitting that all road users adhere to the speed limits to avoid unnecesary road crashes.

Another suggestion I could recommend is to the youth out there. The ones that decide to take joy rides with mummy or daddy's cars. Its one thing "borrowing" your parent's car and taking it for a spin but taking your friends along especially when you do not even have a drivers licence, is a call for concern. One thing is for sure though, that same joy ride can turn into a death ride.

One thing I have learnt about Namibians when travelling is the lack of patience and tolerance for other drivers. The perpetual hooting and insults become such a norm during the festive season, one would think every one is used to it by now. However, these types of road rages are another tragedy that could be avoided if only drivers had respect for one another. A road safety message once read,"Better to arrive late and safe than to be 'the late'."

On my part, I have decided to take extra precautions during the festive season, starting with my alcohol intake. After many years of procastinating, I eventually got my drivers licence and for that reason, am officially on an alcohol break this December. Although I admit, I will miss that cold malted, barley and hops, I know its for the best-my best and every other driver out there!

A friend once told me that a car is a moving coffin so am sure no one ever wants to become a road statistic and no one wishes to bury a loved one especially during this time. My last piece of advice to all road users, whether you will be a passenger, a driver or even a pedestrian, please adhere to road signs at all times and let us make this festive season road carnage free. Merry Christmas and see you all in 2013!

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