Road Safety And World Day of Remembrance 2012
The years 2011-2020 is the Decade of Action for Road Safety. Terms like road rage, distracted driving, killer highways, DUI (driving under the influence) have been read and heard about but still, the statistics for road and crash victims continue to grow. To create awareness and remembrance, the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims started by RoadPeace in 1993, was endorsed on October 26, 2005 by the United Nations as a global day to be observed every third Sunday in November each year.
On November 18, 2012, Project C.A.R.E.S (Community Activities Reaching to Everyone through Services), will once again commemorate this event with a candle lighting ceremony at the Provincial Capitol Lagoon in the morning and at Robinson's Bacolod in the afternoon. Their founder and executive director, May Altarejos Cueva began her road safety advocacy after she lost a brother in a tragic car accident in 1995. Since then, she has single-handedly and tirelessly worked with agencies like the PNP, LTO, DepED, DoH, among others, to bring the importance of road safety to people's consciousness. I am one of those people.
I too, had an uncle who died in a car accident in 1969. He was only 35 years old, leaving a young wife and seven children, the oldest of whom was only 10 years old. The last time I saw him was during my 13th birthday only 2 weeks before, so alive, so happy, bringing me a birthday cake baked by his wife. His death changed his children's lives forever. As in any tragic accident, there were many questions...many what if's. As years went by and when I became a driver myself, the answer is clear. Car accidents are preventable and avoidable.
How do we prevent road traffic accidents and deaths? Here are my simple and basic rules that all drivers and pedestrians must learn and live by.
- Always use your seat belt.
- Never put children in the front seat. Keep them restrained either in a car seat or if they are big enough, make them use a seat belt. In countries like the Philippines where a car seat is not a requirement and expensive, let the child sit on an adult's lap while wrapping arms around her or him.
- Wear a crash helmet when riding a motorbike or bicycle.
- Drive within the speed limit. Going too slow or too fast can lead to accidents.
- Keep your car in good condition. Keep copies of your car maintenance records and LTO papers in your car compartment.
- Do not drive under the influence of alcohol, or when too tired or sleepy.
- Avoid driving in adverse weather conditions.
- Drive defensively, never offensively.
- When stopping, always use the road shoulder. If you have to stop on the road because your vehicle is stalled, use your early warning devices (EWD) but don't just put them anywhere. This is how you should place them.
- Slow down when approaching street corners and pedestrian lanes. Be more careful at night since it is difficult to see pedestrians, even with the headlights on.
- Always give way to pedestrians by doing a full stop.
- Always use the pedestrian lane or overpass when crossing the street. Walk fast, stay alert and do not get distracted like calling or texting while crossing the street.
- Follow traffic rules and signs. If you don't know these rules/signs, study and learn. Here is a link to an online test on traffic and road signs.
- Do not overload your car with more passengers that it can carry.
- Observe road courtesy, stay calm and focused when driving.
As a final word, I believe that road safety is both the driver's and the pedestrian's responsibility. If both stakeholders follow traffic safety rules conscientiously, then accidents and unnecessary deaths may be a thing of the past. Our goal should be for zero deaths.
Drive safely...Arrive alive.