I have been very upset and sad over the past several days. I guess my anger climaxed with the almost routine deaths recorded on the N1 highway beautifully commissioned by Presidents Mills and Kufuor. Somebody clearly did not do his work well when he agreed that there should be this few overpasses on that long stretch. I just think that there should have been a few more of the overpasses so people won’t have to travel so many minutes to find one. Having said that, I do realize that our people will complain so far as they do not see an overpass at the very spot they used to cross the road from. I recall when I was working out of town and my company had to divert paths and create an underpass, indigenes will always protest and insist they want the underpass at every spot they used to cross the road from.
But then again, why will anyone in his right senses want to cross such a huge expanse of road especially at times when there is minimal traffic and Ghanaian drivers are most likely to floor their accelerators? I am not defending folks who drive at killing speeds, but I can’t imagine that me, Kwame Gyan, born to a certain short man called David Kwasi Gyan will risk crossing to the other side knowing fairly well that I could end up at the ‘other side’ even before my old man reaches there! I feel as much as it may be as a result of ignorance, a certain attitude called indiscipline coupled with gross stupidity mixed with a fair share of foolhardy may have taken so many people to early graves with a few more yearning to join them.
Having said that, I think Ghanaian drivers are basically undisciplined and only obey road regulations when they are compelled to do so. That means that we give authorities more than enough reason to build mole hills disguised as speed ramps. We also give our men in black to treat the rest of us as criminals because we only drive to speed limits when on coming vehicles flash their headlights in two quick successions to warn us that the Police are just ahead. I have sat in a cab and seen drivers tuck seat belts under their thighs when they approach police check points and quickly remove them.
I ask myself, is it that people do not understand why they need to do certain things or they just follow rules to avoid punitive actions against them? It seems pretty obvious why the law will say in a town drive at 50km/h or less (town folks may be crossing streets and the slower a vehicle is travelling at, the better breaking distance it can have in the case of a sudden stop; then it is pretty obvious that when one uses the seatbelt he protects his own life in the plausible event that the car crashes and somersaults (I know at least two people who would have been dead today if they were not wearing seatbelts at the time of their accidents). So why do we behave like a bunch of out-of-control beasts until our masters start whipping us into line? I don’t get it. I have said to friends that if some dude drives past me and I see he is disregarding all traffic rules and I drive by and see him in an accident needing my help, I won’t offer it. Call me callous and wicked and heartless and insensitive and inhumane but was he any better driving at 220km/h in an 80km/h zone without any regard to warnings from other road users?
You sit through traffic going to work and some idiots who think the rest of us enjoy sitting in the go slow turns on his hazards and speed down the road. These are not emergencies they are just the act of stupid, indiscipline people breaking rules with impunity. It gets most irritating when police cars and buses of some security agency just use their status to abuse the system with such impunity. What is seriously wrong with some of us? I really want to know.
I worked for nearly four years for a multinational mining giant who took the issue of safety very seriously. Before I joined them I was not one who will strap on my seatbelt not even if I am on the highway. But the safety culture totally changed my life. Despite the work that the National Road Safety Commission, DVLA, the Police, radio stations and so many other interest groups do, our people are just so stupid and stubborn that they will continue doing what is wrong until they see a physical restraint such as a ramp or the police or bad roads. In fact, I think sometimes that we may be better off leaving major roads in bad shape because it seems that is the only time drivers drive carefully. Yes folks, some of us seem unable to follow rules and it makes me wonder just what the hell is wrong with us.