Debunking a huge misconception about road safety

Yesterday (25th February, 2017), I discovered a huge misconception about road safety and crossing roads. Infact I had the misfortune of seeing a tweet on road safety and kids that I didn’t agree with. In my very unusual fashion, I was quick to call the tweeter to order but it didn’t go down well. I call it unusual because on social media I try to keep a low profile and respect people’s opinion. I poked my nose into this particular tweet because to me it was wrong and would endanger people if they took that advice.

The tweeter was adamant that she was right. I was adamant that she was wrong. I didn’t want to keep responding so it wouldn’t turn into an unnecessary argument. I try not to do arguments purely for peace sake. So I decided to write this post. I don’t claim to know it all but in this post, I hope you will be able to understand why I believe her advice was wrong.

The poster/tweeter said it was important to teach children how to stop cars so they can cross the road quickly! Say what?!?!?!?!?!?! Where on earth is the child hurrying to that needs them to stop moving vehicles so their crossing can be faster? That is a bad advice friends. I am still trying to recover from it! Teach them how? I never knew children could develop super powers and go about stopping cars!

I asked the tweeter how that could be possible. See the short conversation we had before I decided there was no point replying her. Hurray, she gave me a topic idea!

Tweeter:You stop vehicles, so they slow down for you to cross the road.
Me: So is that safe? What action will the driver behind/beside take?
Tweeter: When the driver you are stopping slows down, his brake light signals the driver behind while he stops the driver beside. I do it always.
Me: …. silence….

In my mind I’m thinking “Clearly this is what every Nigerian does. Has my tweeter ever been or lived outside this country? If you have never lived outside the shore of this country (in a civilised society), then I can’t blame you for thinking as you do – this was my conclusion. Forgive me for sounding rude but by the time I read her last reply I was speechless and a little vexed.

Now here are 2 tips to help kill that misconception you have about road safety!

1. Never assume you know how other drivers would react at any given time and in any situation

I learnt how to drive in the UK. I have had my UK driving license for 10 years now. I did my UK driving test 4 times before I finally passed – I am never ashamed to admit this because driving shouldn’t be a piece of cake. Seems in Nigeria everyone can get a license as long as they can afford it. I always say that we don’t drive in Nigeria, we just move.

While learning to drive, one thing my instructor told me that I will never forget, is never to stop for people except on zebra crossing. I thought that was wicked! Her reason? You don’t know what action other drivers will take. She was right. Ever stopped for someone to cross or a car to even turn and suddenly notice the car behind you is speeding seriously and just goes to your side and continues their journey? I have seen this happen too many times in Nigeria. If you decide to be a Samaritan and wait for a child to cross, in situations like the one I just described, the other car will end up harming or even killing the child.

So please don’t assume other drivers will imitate you and do as you do.  So how will children cross if they don’t try to stop these moving vehicles?

Teaching children to stop moving cars is teaching bad and unsafe behaviors. There must be a better way.

Teaching children to stop moving cars is teaching bad and unsafe behaviors. There must be a better way. Click To Tweet

2. Never allow your children go on busy roads unescorted

How will your child cross if he or she don’t try to stop these moving vehicle?
Can I ask why your child is alone on a busy road without a responsible adult around to help them cross safely? Does your child know that they need to have eye contact with the driver of a moving car and watch for his actions before crossing? Did you teach your child that? Do you do that? No you don’t.

Does your child know that they need to have eye contact with the driver of a moving car and watch for his actions before crossing? Did you teach your child that? Click To Tweet

I see too many adults on Nigeria roads with punishable bad road manners. They don’t care of you are a lorry, they walk casually even while you are still moving. You reverse and that is when they decide to walk behind your vehicle. If you as an adult is doing all this, how much more a child who often learns by watching and doing?! Teach your children how to cross roads safely. Once they are used to doing it on their own, then they can go ahead and do it just as you have taught them but please teach them the right way.

Remember only cross when it is safe to do so – and let children know there shouldn’t be the need to “hurry”. I wrote a post last year on crossing safely, you can read it here and learn some road safety tips that actually work and can help save you child from an accident! You can also read this targeted at adults and keeping safe while on the road!

What do you think about these 2 points I raised? Agree or disagree. Got anything else to add?

#BeHSEWise