ONE lesson I learnt from my uncle Lot Nembaware, when he taught me how to drive at a tender age of 12, was to treat a car with respect and it will respect you back.
If you drive it recklessly, too fast, under the influence of alcohol and other distractions such as cellphones, too much noise within the cars, it might kill you, maim you or other road users. A car is a machine that must be operated with respect and absolute awareness.
The other object that we must treat with respect is money. The main purpose of money is for payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic environment.
It is to be treated with respect too. Over the years I have seen individuals deviate from this simple rule, they flash it on social media and want the whole world to know how well they are doing. Not everyone who follows you on social media likes you.
The human body needs rest. Sleep is important. If you go for too long without sleeping, you will blight your capacity to drive the same way as drinking too much alcohol.
Being awake for at least 18 hours is the same as someone having a blood content (BAC) of 0,05%.
Being awake for at least 24 hours is equal to having a blood alcohol content of 0,10%.
Now add lack of sleep and proper alcohol, you will get an individual who must be off the road and in bed far away from the steering wheel.
Not only are they a danger to themselves, but their passengers and other road users.
Research by Confused.com concluded that driving under a hangover is deadly as well. Now what more of drunk driving? It also found that more than a quarter of people caught drink-driving occurred between the hours of 5am and 11am. The reason for this is because alcohol can take significantly longer to leave your system than you would think.
Alcohol can show up in a blood test for up to 12 hours. It can be detected in urine for up three to five days via the ethyl glucuronide test or 10 to 12 hours via the traditional method.
Lack of sleep has a negative impact on our judgment and increases risk taking. Make sure you have slept at least eight hours before you drive. This affords your body and mind optimal driving shape. Now add alcohol and speed to the mix.
The enormity of a crash increases with speed. If you speed you might not be able to stop. With a reaction time of one second, it will take the average driver driving at 110km/h about 90m to come to a stop on a dry surface.
Speeding makes a crash more likely. In a crash that is speeding-related, you are more likely to be injured, your injuries are more likely to be severe, and you are more likely to die.
And that is true whether you are the speeding driver, another driver, a passenger, a cyclist or a pedestrian. That is if you are sober and you have slept well. Speeding puts in danger everyone on the road.
Zimbabwe is so lax when it comes to drunk driving. How do all those drunk drivers leave bottle stores, night clubs and pubs to go home without police stopping them?
When last did you hear of anyone getting arrested for drunk driving? It has become fashionable to drive while under the influence of alcohol. Our police need to be vigilant and arrest roisterers who drive under the influence.
Borrowdale Road itself has become a death trap as drivers speed so much. They actually hoot you off the road if you drive at 60-80km/h. Some of these people are prominent people in our society with fast cars. They actually pass through the police posts that have sprouted along Borrowdale road.
There is a time and place for everything. Speeding along Borrowdale Road must be stopped. We have lost many lives including that of Genius Kadungure this past week. Speed is for race cars on a proper designated race track with safety features. Our roads are not meant for top speed cars.
If you are driving, you are the boss of the car. If it was a plane you would be the captain. It is up to you to make sure your car is in good condition and everything is working well.
You have every right to ask your passengers to wear their seat belts.
You must never take chances with the safety of your passengers. Avoid any behaviours that are distressing to your passengers. Speeding, unsafe overtaking, passing, dashing through orange lights — all create tension.
Never smoke or drink in a car. The tobacco odour is difficult to get rid of.
Do not use a cellular phone unless it is absolutely necessary, particularly in challenging traffic.
Driving requires complete focus and undivided attention.
Your car should be equipped with a first aid kit, flashlight, flares, blanket, shovel and a fire extinguisher. You must be trained on how to use the fire extinguisher, otherwise do not use it because you will be harmed.
A good and responsible driver goes way beyond following the traffic rules. As with life in general, bear in mind the golden rule when you are out on the road: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Also keep in mind that “one good turn deserves another”.
Avoid aggressive driving, which is one manifestation of poor driving etiquette, as it will only put you and others around you in constant threat or danger.
Patience is key! If you are an impatient driver, you had better start learning to develop more tolerance and understanding as your attitude plays a large hand in avoiding traffic- and road-related hassles. Rudeness and impatience will not get you anywhere as these behaviours compromise you and your passenger’s safety in more ways than one.
On the knowledge side, it is of course important that you are aware of traffic rules. Observing rules that are as simple as stopping at a red light or signaling when changing lanes matters a lot. We must observe speed limits. Observe enough rest and stay away from liquor when driving.
Learning defensive driving is also a huge advantage. Whatever type of car you drive, treat it with utmost respect, it could save your life.