According to the WHO, road traffic accidents are in the top 10 causes of death globally, with Africa representing the highest road accident fatality rates. Most of us take the risk of travelling by road on a daily basis, minimising how seriously we take the dangers associated with it. Whether it’s your regular commute or travel in a country far from home, there are important things to keep in mind to remain safe and healthy.
Here are a few common-sense safety precautions that everyone should follow:
Always wear a seatbelt or helmet.
Make sure someone knows the route you’re taking and your estimated time of arrival.
Know the correct emergency number for the country you are in, or have someone you can contact in case of an emergency.
Buy insurance that covers what you will need in case of a road traffic accident. For traveling in East Africa, Amref is an affordable option for medical evacuations throughout the region.
Carry a medical first aid kit with you.
Put down the phone! If you have passengers with you, give someone else ownership of any necessary phone use on your behalf. If you’re driving on your own and need to make a call or send a text, wait until you can pull over at a safe location.
Don’t be in a hurry. There is never a good enough reason to rush that makes it worth putting lives at risk.
Don’t drive under the influence or when you are sleep deprived. Better to wait and be late, then to forge ahead and never arrive.
Always keep a medical first aid kit in your vehicle.
If you feel unsafe by the speed or recklessness of your driver, say something. Even if it makes things awkward.
Don’t be a passive passenger. Offer to be in charge of phone management, music, et cetera. Stay awake and find ways to help your driver stay alert and focused.
Always stay awake and aware of your surroundings.
Know where you’re going and follow along on a map.
Have an exit strategy. Look for emergency exits and, if there are none, come up with another plan.
Try to avoid overcrowded vehicles.
Traveling by road may be an almost-daily occurrence, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the dangers of road traffic accidents seriously. Be aware and take the necessary precautions so that you arrive at your destination safely.
To read more about how to avoid injury while traveling, here is another helpful article.