10 driving mistakes attributing to road accidents in Ghana

Road Accident6 File photo

Tue, 26 Mar 2019 Source: Joel Savage

I had my first driving license in Ghana on January 5, 1976, at the age of 19. During my normal driving career, I became both a Taxi and Trotro driver in Accra and Cape Coast. With extra driving experience in West African countries that I lived, such as Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, I had much confidence in me as one of the world’s best drivers, until I came to Europe three decades ago.

In Europe, I realized that the type of driving experience we had in Africa or Ghana, is like someone with suicidal tendencies, selfishly careless and recklessly dangerous driving.

It’s only God protecting us on these dangerous roads in Ghana because what I passed through before I had my European or Belgian driving license gave me ample knowledge that many Ghanaian will fail their driving test in Europe, regardless the number of years they have been on the road with or without an accident.

In Europe, many Africans despite being drivers in Africa, have failed driving test more than six to eight times. Some of them have given up. I gave up when I failed twice. 5 years later, I tried and passed, not until going to a driving school and learning day and night on the computer to be familiar with the questions and the practical as well.

At the moment, road accidents have increased in Ghana, claiming precious lives each and every day. It’s very sad to note that some superstitious minds are attributing road accidents to something else, instead of acknowledging the problems causing road accidents in Ghana.

I have, therefore, compiled 10 major reasons many accidents are happening on our roads in Ghana today.

1. Many Ghanaian drivers have no patience. They pass through red lights and have no respect for the lives of pedestrians. When someone absentmindedly makes a mistake and the person is knocked down, they blame the victim. They don’t even consider themselves responsible for knocking down the person. Such a thing doesn’t exist in Europe since they know that pedestrians make a mistake, they give driving license to drivers who are ready to save a life when that mistake occurs.

2. There are dangerous vehicles plying on our roads. Some have inefficient brakes, worn out tyres, and non-functioning signaling lights. Instead of the police impounding such vehicles, they collect money from drivers to kill passengers.

3. Africa is a tropical continent; therefore, Ghana is a sunny country. When the sun is at its highest temperatures, the air in vehicles’ tyres get warm and, therefore, expand. It is that time drivers must avoid over speed. Drivers over speeding often experience tyre burst and the chances to save the lives of passengers are very slim. Ghanaian drivers like over speeding to the extent that they don’t reduce speed at places where there are schools or school children. In Europe, 30 kilometers per hour is compulsory at such places.

4. Many Ghanaian roads are constructed without street lights, therefore, night driving is very difficult and on many occasions, such difficulties lead to road accidents.

5. Broken down vehicles, such as long timber trucks, are left in the middle of the road without enough warning signs. Many over speeding vehicles run into such stationary vehicles.

6. Some drivers fall asleep behind the steering wheel. When tired, a driver must retire, instead, they prefer to drive hoping to reach their destination to take a rest. Many don’t make it, killing passengers.

7. Many Ghanaian drivers do overtake in dangerous places. For example, some can overtake in a curve or on ascending and descending slopes.

8. Some drivers operate under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

9. Many Ghanaian roads are bad, full of potholes. Swerving to avoid potholes often results in a headlong collision.

10. Ghanaian roads lack enough warning and cautioning traffic boards, therefore, most inexperienced Ghanaian drivers violate driving regulations.

Columnist: Joel Savage