ROAD accidents, it appears, continue claiming more and more people despite police warnings and advice to drivers to take the wheel with the responsibility it demands. As we reported in yesterday's issue, seven family members including a three-year-old girl, died on the spot in Gweru on Sunday afternoon, when their Toyota Corolla was involved in an accident with a bus, resulting in part of the driver's side of the vehicle being ripped off.
And as we countdown to the festive season, we are likely to see more carnage on the roads which will plunge many families into mourning at a time they should be rejoicing.
When that happens families lose breadwinners, mothers, fathers, brothers and/or sisters. Yet it could all be prevented if the people concerned exercise caution on the roads or ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy.
Police attribute most of the accidents to speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or mechanical faults. Painful as it is to contemplate, but more lives will be lost on the roads before the year is out and we feel duty bound to remind our readers and advertisers of a few precautions that could be the difference between life and death.
Before embarking on a journey ensure that you get enough sleep the night before this will ensure that you are not easily fatigued or fall prey to highway hypnosis.
If you are stressed or ill, avoid driving long distances. You also need to plan your journey and the route you will take, this will keep you from speeding or attempting to take short-cuts.
Most importantly, ensure that your vehicle is fit for the road. Check tyres for damage and/or abnormal wear. The tyre treads must pass the match stick test: that is the depth of the tread should not be less than the head of a matchstick, if it's less do change the tyres.
Insufficient tread translate to lower traction and poor vehicle control, particularly in the prevailing wet weather conditions. Also ensure that your tyres are inflated to the requisite air pressure for your load and continue checking the pressure regularly throughout your trip.
Incorrect tyre pressure can lead to overheating which can cause tyre bursts.
And one of the things we ignore at our own peril is the seat belt, always buckle before starting your car and ensure that your passengers buckle up too.
The seat belt was not designed to cheat the police, it is integral to driver and passenger safety. We also urge the police to ensure effective policing of the highways. We want the increased police presence on the roads to translate to reduced carnage.