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Be smart, be safe

With the crop over season set to climax within the next few days, the Barbados Road Safety Association is calling on all persons who will be traversing our roads in whatever capacity to be extremely careful and cognizant for the fact that road accidents can affect any of us when we least expect. So far for the year there have been 12 road fatalities compared to 14 last year for the corresponding time, let us no add to this number.

At this time many persons will be partying and enjoying the social activities. If you consume any alcohol, whatever the amount, it can impair your ability to drive and use the road safely, so make sure you have a designated driver on hand to transport you to your home or your destination safely.

A designated driver is a person who has abstained from drinking and not the person who has drunk the least or is the most sober person in the group. If you are a pedestrian, alcohol is also dangerous when using the road — you can cause an accident and be killed or seriously injures. Be responsible, use alcohol in moderation. Know your limit.

Travelling to the many activities and not getting enough rest will create another danger for persons using the roads. Driver fatigue, the silent killer, makes you fall asleep behind the wheel or sends your body into micro sleeps where you have no control over your vehicle, causing accidents.

Excessive or inappropriate speed kills or can cause severe injuries. The faster you travel the more likely you are to be involved in an accident, the higher the force of impact, meaning the more likely the outcome will be fatal or injuries more severe… Please take your time and drive within the speed limit and at the appropriate speed for the road conditions.

Distracted drivers are dangerous drivers. If you are distracted you are not aware of what is happening around you, and will be unable to compensate for the mistakes of others and so cannot help avoid an accident. Always be alert and pay full attention to the road and your surroundings. Drive defensively — forget friends in the vehicle, forget cell phones — and focus on the road.

The hurricane season poses a greater threat by making our roads hazardous. Ensure the tyres on your vehicle are safe, that their thread depth is above 1.6 mm and that they are inflated correctly.

We must all be responsible and make wise choices when using the road; remember to wear your seatbelt wherever you are in the vehicle and ensure children are properly restrained. Don’t put your lives or that of others in danger. Our families need love and need us, be smart and be safe this Crop-Over season.

* Sharmane Roland-Bowen is the President of the Barbados Road Safety Association

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