Whenever a ghastly lorry accident is reported, what readily come to mind is a scene of gloom, as precious blood gushes from deep fresh wounds inflicted on some passengers by mangled metals.
Some are mercilessly trapped among the pieces of metal in the manner in which a rag is found among thorns. Gasping for breath is their only option, which they, even, never know when the almighty Leveller will claim as his own.
At the other end of the scene of misery and tears are pieces of human flesh scattered around as if to remind the Sons and Daughters of this world of how vulnerable we are.
Rescuers frantically cut metals using any helpful implement to free trapped accident victims from their enclaves of death.
In some situations, accident victims suffer double agonies. While groaning in pain in mangled lorries, there would be an explosion followed by raging inferno, that leaves, in its trail, charred human bodies beyond recognition.
Drivers, why this high rate of irresponsibility behind the steering wheels? Just imagine, if all professionals become as careless and reckless as you are while pursuing their professions, what would happen in this world?
Some of you forget the fact that you are handling a mechanical object which cannot think for itself. It follows the dictates of manipulation by you. Ironically, the guilty drivers went through some periods of training.
Some of our modern-day drivers have made lorry accidents phenominally unpreventable. But a critical examination of the causes of these nightmares on our roads will reveal the stark fact that most of them are man-made.
This disturbing issue about driver banzas can be likened to the biblical parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-8). Some of these drivers always hear the Road Safety campaign messages. But like Matthew 13:7, where Christ said, some of the seeds the Sower sowed fell “among thorns and the thorns sprung up and choked them,” the driver banzas hear the road Safety campaign messages, but their avaricious desire for instant riches makes them ignore such useful campaign messages and do their own thing which results in lorry accidents with its concomitant bloodshed and loss of life in some cases.
During occasions such as yuletide, some drivers are tempted to make as much money as they can. This involves the increase in the number of trips they make between their stations and destinations. This results in an inevitable urge to speed up.
The danger in speeding is that if there is the need for the driver to lower speed to avoid running over a careless pedestrian, hitting a stray animal, a bumpy surface or a pothole, etc, he or she will find it difficult to apply the brake. A preventable accident, therefore, occurs.
Additionally, drivers in a hurry to arrive at their destinations usually ignore road signs and traffic rules. Thus, they overtake other lorries at wrong places, such as on the brow of a hill and at curves.
This can lead to a head-on collision, since an on-coming lorry cannot be seen. Such drivers in haste may also attempt to overtake many lorries in a roll and cause a collision with an on-coming lorry.
Refusal to replace old Parts
Some lorry owners ignore some old and weak parts and worn-out tyres, which urgently need replacement. This can lead to some vital parts falling off while the lorry is in motion at top speed. This explains why a tyre can burst or come off to send a speeding lorry somersaulting.
Some drivers ignorantly think that their sense of concentration and alertness sharpens, if they have a little alcohol in their system. Our medical doctors, however, observe that alcohol reduces a victim’s sense of concentration, reasoning and judgment. They are far from from right, judging from the clowning behaviour some tipsy people put up in public.
A drunken driver can, therefore, clown at the Steering wheel, sometimes becoming impatient and shouting unnecessarily at other innocent road users, while indulging in general action reckless driving to cause accidents. He can, even doze off while the lorry is in motion. Ugh!!
One serious cause of lorry accidents, which nobody seems to take note of is when a female passenger sits in the driver’s compartment. The natural magnetic charms around women can arrest the attention of the driver, when he may try to show off his driving skills, usually by driving at terrific speed, much to her admiration expressed in bewitching glances at him, while at the same time, she engages him in endless conversation.
The trend becomes the more dangerous, if the female passenger wears a dress which exposes her thighs and breasts. The driver will certainly be tempted to cast furtive glances at those parts and lose concentration with obvious consequence.
Life is precious and drivers should not toy with it for all the riches and wisdom of the biblical Solomon.
Drivers should realise that the moment they take their seats at the steering wheel they have entered into “contract” with their passengers. They expect their drivers to drive them safely to their destinations, while the passengers agree to pay their fares. Drivers should, therefore, be faithful to this unwritten contract.
They should avoid speeding, so that they will be able to control their vehicles in emergency situations of all sorts. They should accept the fact that it is better to arrive late and safely than to be in a hurry only to find themselves in mortuaries.
Transport owners should regularly inspect their commercial vehicles to enable them replace some missing and old parts to avoid accidents in which innocent passengers die or suffer various degrees of injuries.
Drinks simply dull the senses, but driving a mechanical object like a lorry calls for alertness to enable drivers to concentrate on the task of setting ding their passengers safely to their destinations. The police should be able to check drink-driving, because they have a device for it.
Some transport owners allegedly warn their drivers not to allow female passengers to occupy part of the drivers’ compartments, so that their libidos will not worry them to cast furtive glances at the ladies to rob them (the drivers) of concentration needed for safe driving.
Other measures against frequent lorry accident include drivers dimming their headlights at night when meeting on-coming vehicles to avoid blinding of drivers of the on-coming vehicles. Speed should be lowered when driving over potholes. Dodging potholes has been known to cause lorry accidents and drivers should be cautious.
Passengers should not sit in their vehicles when their drivers are driving recklessly. They should be bold to advise their drivers to be cautious.
In conclusion, Road safety campaign members should periodically lead groups of drivers to visit accident wards in our hospitals , where the drivers will come face to face with groaning injured passengers, some with legs and hands in Plaster of Paris (POP) hanging in the air – all depicting the products of their nonchalance, carelessness and recklessness at the steering wheels.
Driving is a noble profession because it involves human beings and their precious lives. It should, therefore, not be desecrated in any way.
PERISCOPE wishes all its cherished readers and Ghanaians a MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR.
By Godfried K. Arhin-Kumi
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect The Chronicle’s stance.