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Kolawole Ajayi: It is Wet, Drive Safely!

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Going by the different reportage of crashes due to incessant downpours in Lagos and other cities across Nigeria, I must highlight why we must all drive to stay alive during this peculiar season. A good number of Nigerian roads are generally known to wear off during the year, especially during the rainy season, thus, leading to diverse shapes and forms of potholes on different paths of Nigerian roads. These are mostly caused as a result of bad maintenance, low quality of products used, indiscipline on the part of citizens, and many others.

Over time, in Nigeria, the results of this wear-off on road infrastructures are mostly pronounced and felt by road users during the rainy seasons. The constant downpours widen the diverse potholes that have, before the rainy season, been inadequately fixed, pressurized by road users, and wrongly used (throwing of wastes in gutters) by people. The effects of this include the appearance of large and deep ditches on expressways/highways, wear and tear on roads shoulders, long and delayed traffic congestion, crashes, injuries and deaths, anxiety and uncertainties while driving, and many more.

Against this backdrop, and in addition to the technical advice like changing bad wipers, worn-out tyres, and others, we are advised to follow strictly the below general tips for driving during the rainy season. 

Anticipate your trip

Aside from the thrill that comes with it, anticipating a trip you are about to embark on also gives you ample time to plan how the trip would be. It makes you think of various possible routes to ply and avoid congestion, traffic light, and bad roads. It further leads to you setting out on your journey earlier and ultimately leads to a >  

Slow down

According to 10 crucial things to know before you start driving in the rain, you are advised not to only adhere to the posted speed limit, but to drive considerably slower. Your vehicle reaction time is much slower when it is raining

Drive only on familiar routes

This rainy period is not the best time to set out on a journey or trip on unfamiliar routes. Majority of the roads are badly hit by the constant downpour and ridden with potholes and gullies. If you intend to go on a trip on unfamiliar routes, get a driver who knows the route well enough.

Avoid driving in the heat of a downpour

Ideally, any trip you will be involved in during this period should be before it starts raining. And if by chance you find yourself driving when it is rainy cat and dog, please find a safe place to park until the rain subsides and views are clear.

Be observant

Whenever you drive, be careful and observant, especially during the rainy season. Check out you are not the one leading another driver in flooded areas and check that you are not the only one plying the route.

Drive only when it is necessary and safe

This can never be overemphasized during this rainy season. Make sure that before embarking on any trip, ask yourself if the journey is really necessary and important. This is not the best time to drive unnecessarily on any road. Heavy downpours are being experienced daily. This has led to many crashes, property and infrastructural damages, injuries, and untimely deaths of road users. There is news where vehicles and people are swallowed and submerged by floods, cases of hit and run, and many more unfortunate incidences that come with driving during the rainy season. To avoid this, try as much as possible to shorten the kilometres covered and to reduce generally how often you drive from one point to the other.

Avoid night trips

The roads are wet and views are blurry. This leads to anxiety, fatigue, and sometimes aggressive driving by drivers.  With all this mentioned, driving at night is not the best time to experience this.

It is a well-known fact that driving during the rainy season needs extra attention to get to your destination safely. Asides from the well-known tips like avoiding using streaking wipers, worn-out tyres, and driving without AC during the rainy season, we are advised to keep it safe all through this period. Plan and anticipate your trip, drive under the approved speed limit, avoid tailgating other drivers, drive on familiar routes when it is highly necessary, and make sure if you will go on a trip on unfamiliar routes, get a driver who knows the routes well. Drive to see another rainy season.

 

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Photo by Peter Amponsah from Pexels