Christmas is at hand and lots of people both Christians and non-Christians will definitely be on the road. The majority of people all over the globe will be traveling to their villages to celebrate with family members and loved ones, while others will be visiting historical places and events just for fun. The Christmas season also undoubtedly tops the busiest and most exuberant period of the year. Christmas which is celebrated on the 25th of December annually also happens to be one of the most disaster-prone and chaotic seasons in the year.
It’s said that “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and “A stitch in time saves nine”. The Christmas season is a season of celebration and joy all around the world that surrounds the birth of Jesus Christ. The Christmas period has also been seen as a time of danger for road users. Research shows that the Christmas season records a lot of road accidents in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. The massive rate of Road accidents recorded this season are as a result of many factors counting from; bad roads, reckless driving, worn-out and uncertified cars on the road, among others.
Additionally, the Christmas season is also prone to increased cases of domestic hazards. Basic activities that are done in Christmas season like cooking, springing up of lights, decoration of trees, merriment among others add up to potential risk factors that result in domestic hazards. However, most of these hazards can be avoided with some simple safety measures which should be taken seriously.
The following among others are simply safety measures to adopt in order to avoid hazards that might come with the Christmas season.
Rest properly before embarking on your journey
When embarking on a road trip this Christmas season especially when you know you will be on the wheel; it is encouraged to rest properly. Having enough rest before traveling keeps the body and mind in good shape and prepares it for the task ahead. A well-rested body tends to be more relaxed and settled and can easily absorb the stress attached with traveling.
Ensure your car is in good condition (Roadworthy)
Keeping the car in good condition is another good step to planning for an accident-free Christmas season. Before one embarks on the long journey home, it is good to service the car, check the components and ensure they work perfectly. Ensure that you have a good spare tyre, fire extinguisher, and basic car tools.
Don’t drink and drive
“If you must drink, don’t drive, and if you must drive, don’t drink” is a well-known grounded principle for all drivers to adhere to. This principle should be upheld with utmost seriousness and by doing that, it would massively reduce the rate of accidents caused by drunk drivers especially during the Christmas season.
The expected regulatory speed limit for all vehicles in a particular road as well as “common sense speed limit’ should be maintained at all times. Breaking of the legal speed limit by a motorist is prohibited and perpetrators will face the consequences one way or the other. Yet, most motorists, especially during the Christmas season, act otherwise all in the name of being in a hurry. The act of over-speeding contradicts the fundamental principle of road traffic rules and regulations and has in recent times, played a major role in the cause of road accidents.
A divided attention while driving is very risky. It has really played a contributing factor in cases of road accidents, especially during festive periods. In issues of distractions like; answering phone calls, purchasing of items by the roadside, bending to pick a fallen item inside the car while driving, among others, it is advisable to navigate and park the car properly off the road before attending to such distractions.
Do not overload
Loading your vehicle with an excessive amount of luggage or humans above the stipulated benchmark is a major cause of accidents during the Christmas period. Putting too great a demand in-vehicle does not only cause accidents but also damages the road, causes the vehicle to depreciate faster than it’s supposed to. Avoid overloading your vehicle and you will be safe this festive period.
Have complete vehicle papers (photocopies)/ Driving license:
Make sure your vehicle papers are complete and you have a drivers’ license. An up to date license will make your journey easy. Especially during festive periods when lots of government personnel in charge road safety are on the road exercising their duties. In Nigeria specifically, if you want to avoid spending extra money, embarrassments and unnecessary delay by “these personnel”, then it’s important to drive with complete vehicle papers and a valid driving license.
Avoid unnecessary overtaking
Overtaking while driving, without doubt, is among the highest risk factors in driving and has also increased the percentage of road accidents when not done properly. The distance gained after overtaking is usually not much. While driving and about to overtake, it’s advisable to adhere to the fundamental rules in overtaking and when the roles are not fully met, it’s advisable not to overtake. Be patient, it is better to be late than to become a late.
Always wear your seatbelt
The laws that mandate the fitting of seat beats on vehicles also made it mandatory to wear them, except you are qualified by a medical doctor not to wear it, and have a proof to that effect. With the cases of thousands of dead on the road especially during the Christmas season, wearing of seat belt will definitely go a long way to improve safety.
Vehicle owners are also advised to have an appropriate child seat in addition to the certified seat belt. Except the are 12 years old or have gotten up to at least 135 centimeters in height. Wearing of seat belt when inside the vehicle is mandatory and we all should embrace the culture of doing that.
It is believed that people tend to act violent when they are drunk. The rate at which lots of people consume alcohol and abusive drugs at parties and other celebrations during the Christmas season cannot be overemphasized. Considering the negative health effect of this act makes it even more appalling. It is better to avoid them, but if you must drink, drink responsibly.
Turn off tree lights and blow out candles
There is a serious need especially during the Christmas season for people to be cautious of fire outbreak. Some causes of the fire outbreak experienced during this season can be avoided by; keeping an eye on candles and blowing it out after usage. Make sure that the Christmas trees, gifts and wrappers are not close to fireplaces, light fittings or candles.
Christmas season undoubtedly comes with enormous excitement and fun, but if care is not taking, it can lead to mood swings. The above precautionary steps has been tracked down to be on top of the list of major factors that over the years caused the continues cases of a road accidents. And strict adherence to them will really help in avoiding negative unforeseen occurrences during this festive season.
Please share your safety measures in the comment box, to encourage a hazard-free Christmas season.