Beware car accessories can be a threat to road safety

Thursday August 8 2019

A car with tinted glasses.

A car with tinted glasses. 

By Pauline Bangirana

Each car accessory has its disadvantages when it comes to road safety. Ronald Amanyire, the Secretary, National Road Safety Council in the Ministry of Works and Transport, notes that sensitisation is needed on how some of these accessories can be a danger.
Video player
According to indianautosblog, the factory-fitted infotainment units of most cars stop video playback as soon as the car gets in motion. However, the non-OEM roof-mounted video players can support video playback when the vehicle is being driven. Playing a video while the car is in motion can easily divert the driver’s attention and result in a fatal collision.

These are stickers that are placed on the car. Peter Araali Nsubuga, a trainer with Professional Driver Training Uganda, says having decals goes against your insurance policy since an insurance company may fail to compensate you in case an accident is caused as a result of having this accessory.

Sound/ music system
Daudi Gumisiriza, a car owner, says while driving, you must be alert and be able to hear all sounds such as another vehicle approaching.

“A good driving experience is where all the five senses are involved and anything that disrupts any of the senses is an inconvenience to road safety,” he adds.

Amanyire says tint reduces the driver’s visibility, especially at night. He recommends that one should always allow in a certain percentage of light because if you have no visibility, you are prone to accidents.

Dashboard covers
The covers help with wear and tear of the dashboard but some are too exaggerated. “These covers block the ventilators that are designed to help defrost the wind screen in cold or rainy weather conditions. When covered, you will be forced to use a cloth to wipe mist off the wind screen, which takes away your ability to have full control of the vehicle,” Nsubuga notes.


Steering covers
These allow for better grip and protect the top layer of the steering wheel. However, this only happens when they are still new but with wear and tear, they make it difficult for the driver to have full control of the steering wheel because of the slippage.

Every vehicle must have direction indicators, headlights, tail lights, edge lights and side lights depending of the type, length, width and height of the vehicle. The TRSA has regulations on that.

Amanyire notes that the standard colour for the indicator is amber although the irregularities are brought about because cars are imported from different countries explaining why some indicators are white, red which is wrong. “Extra lights on vehicles as long as they have an effect towards road safety are prohibited,” he says.

Guards (Bull bars)
Nsubuga notes: “If a car was not manufactured with a bull bar, then it was not designed to have them. Fabricating a bull bar on a vehicle contradicts the laws unless you have your vehicle inspected and given a new vehicle log book that indicates the change.”

According to Amanyire, this is the most abused car accessory nowadays. He notes that sirens should be used by the President, Chief Justice and his deputy, Speaker of Parliament, deputy speaker and vice president.

Nowadays, many automakers provide sunroofs pre-installed on vehicles. The problem arises when you get an aftermarket sunroof kit installed. They hamper the car’s structural airflow around the body and also disturb its structural rigidity, making it unsafe for passengers at the time of a crash.

It is important, therefore, to always double-check with concerned authorities before adding any accessories to your car. If you are unsure about a particular accessory, hold off on installing it until you have all the required information.