Thursday December 14 2017

Be safe as you drive this festive season

 

By Roland D. Nasasira

The festive season comes with lots of excitement and with it; many people lose their heads getting into messy accidents.
However, be a sober driver this season by ensuring that your car is in perfect condition before you get onto that long road trip to the village to catch up with family and friends.
Most of these things are quite obvious but for the sake of ensuring that everyone is safe, whether you are travelling by private or public means, we shall emphasise some of them.

Service your car early
According to Arthur Baguma, who plans to link up with his family in Bushenyi, his travel is only assured if he has enough money for fuel and the car has been serviced.
“I make sure that my car is serviced. But apart from that I have to make sure that my brakes, tyres and other components such as wipers, are in good shape,” he says.
Change oil and other fluids if necessary as well as ensuring that tyres are in perfect shape.

Have a second driver
In 2009 Baguma became weak after driving past Masaka Town. He could not drive on but none of in the people in the car including his wife knew how to drive.
He was only saved by a friend, who arrived from Mbarara after hours of waiting.
“If you are the only one who knows how to drive in your home, plan to travel with someone else who can drive. It saves a lot. You never know what might happen,” he says.

Plan your journey
This is one area that many drivers never give a thought, however, according to Steven Sserwanga, a truck driver with Vivo Energy Uganda, it is the start of a safe journey. “You should know where to make stopovers. It should not just happen. Make sure you have planned for all those journeys,” he says, emphasising that you should avoid making unplanned journeys.

Budget for fuel
Travelling with enough fuel is a perquisite for any driver, otherwise you risk getting stuck.
Upcountry trips might require you to visit different relatives, therefore, ensure that you have enough fuel to make those journeys. Unplanned journeys will stretch your fuel consumption.

Have a medical check-up
One thing that is often ignored is checking the condition of one’s health before travelling.
However, this is dangerous and according to Umar Rashid Guloba of Makerere University Business School Clinic, presents travellers with life risking challenges.
“You might get sick in an area where it is hard to get treatment. So check yourself and understand your health status. If it is necessary carry some drugs,” he says.
Goloba lists ailments such as malaria, which spend sometime in the body before it weakens someone and allergies as some of the health risks that can ruin one’s travel experience.
Other sensitive but also important medical checks to do, he recommends, include dental and typhoid tests.

Respect road signs
Road signs, Martha Nantume, a driver, says, give the driver an insight into what is ahead of them. Therefore, she adds, every driver must pay particular attention to road signs every time they are on major roads.
“Do not wait for surprises. Take note of road signs. You have seen drivers who get stuck at a certain point simply because they never paid attention to particular directions,” she says.
Look out for signs that alert you of speed limit, sharp corners and hump ahead.

rnasasira@ug.nationmedia.com

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