Road Etiquette

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Road Etiquette

Nairobis-traffic
Have you ever been on the road very early in the morning and you find other motorists who look like they have extended the sleeping hours into their automobiles? A while back, I would leave the house at around 6:00 a.m. in order to put in some time into my study before the office gets noisy and busy. Usually at that hour there are few cars on the road and most of them just speed off on the clear roads. However, a few times I have come across motorists who drive like they are stuck in a bumper-to-bumper traffic. They drive so slowly that the pedestrians look ridiculously fast. Other than being angered, I am fascinated by these individuals who wake up, only to come ‘sleep’ on the road. I often wonder why they would leave the comfort of their beds and homes to brace the cold mornings and imaginary traffic jams. Don’t get me wrong, most of the vehicles are new and no, they do not have the ‘L’ sign on them, so it’s not that the car has mechanical issues or that they are escaping the jam because they are learners. Beats me, but if you happen to be one of those motorists, kindly let me hear from you why you are not being kind to yourself.

Then there are motorists that will never give you way, no matter how obvious it is to everyone else that they really won’t move at all in the direction they want to go while hindering you from proceeding on a traffic free and clear road. Mmmmhhhhh…..how selfish!

Then we have the ones that believe that they are entitled to the right of way. They will indicate (or most of the time not) and just slide in before your vehicle leaving you to apply emergency brakes. Now why would you cause another motorist anxiety? And did you stop to think that if they had an accident, it could involve you too?

We also have proud motorist. You politely give them way then they drive off without even gesturing a thank you. Do not get me wrong, I am not on the road looking for appreciation for my kind deeds but am sure if someone acknowledged and thanked you for giving them way, you will feel inclined to be kinder to the next person and the person seeing your example will also feel inclined to do the same and the ripple effect will ensure we have courtesy and kindness on our roads.
It wouldn’t be fair to the motorist to talk about road etiquette and leave out the pedestrians. They too have a big role to play on the roads. It would be courteous and safe for pedestrians to look up and read the traffic lights before crossing the roads. It is dangerous to assume that because other people crossed safely 5 minutes ago, it is okay for you to cross now without checking the lights or the road for any approaching vehicle. Pedestrians are also very notorious on the zebra-crossing. They feel it is their right of way and instead of crossing over, they choose to drag across as some look real hard at the drivers. Some decide that they must pick or make their calls while crossing thus taking longer than they should. It should be known that it is unwise to try get across the road before a car that is at a junction where a driver is keenly studying the traffic in order to join the road. Most drivers are concerned about the cars approaching from either side and might not be aware of your presence as you insist to cross. To avoid accidents, always cross from the rear of the first car at the junction.

Am sure you also have lots to share about road etiquette.

As always, looking forward to hearing from you. Nkatha Ogutu

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