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Accidents in Uganda are almost the new pandemic

By Mercy K. Kainobwisho

It is so painful for families, communities and nations to lose loved ones to road accidents that could be avoided. Very painful indeed. I know many people will think that it is God’s plan but I refuse to believe that God plans such painful deaths(accidents).

Accidents in Uganda are almost the new pandemic. Most of these are due to reckless , negligent, fatigued ,merciless road users. Some are due to human error or mechanical issues of vehicles . Now ,we live our homes everyday worried if we shall be back home because of the many accidents we meet on our roads, every day. There is a also high level of contributory negligence by drivers and riders. Some drivers are sometimes high , tired , fatigued and sleepy. It is advised to have at least two drivers on long routes. Some of the vehicles are in terrible mechanical state and the cost is harming innocent road users.

On my way from Eastern Uganda last night , I met a number of trucks stuck on the road with no indication or warning signs and in dark places. Some caused jam for hours on Iganga Road.

The worst one was a huge truck that got stuck at Namboole round about. This truck was in a dark place with no lighting or no one bothered to put any warning signs like branches of trees etc . We almost bumbed into it. Almost.

Then we have the overtaking syndrome on our roads . Almost every road user on the highway wants to overtake. The big and small cars are always on an overtaking competition. This must stop. For God’s sake , reckless road users should always bear in mind that they are carrying human beings not animals or woods and the duty of care on our roads must be high. We all must have a duty of care when we get on those roads but look what is happening around us? Indisciplined and senseless drivers and riders.

Then we have the fog in the mornings that affects visibility and many local road users do not understand the rules of driving during the fog or rains for example simple basic things like keeping lights on, and regulating speed limit as you ensure your car tyres , gears, lights are in good state.

Further, we have many learners for drivers on our roads. Many people teach themselves driving skills and with no clue on driving regulations, interpreting road signs Etc, they just get on our roads with excitement. They don’t know anything on speed limits, lanes usage, the road signs, the signals by other road users and boom , the cause accidents.
Forexample, last night we almost bumped into a white harrier on the by pass. The driver was in the the lowest speed limit but on a wrong lane and suddenly he crossed into another lane. Which led us to stop abruptly. Had we not been alert, we would have knocked.

Then another scenario is a boda that came from no where and crossed right infront of our vehicle. These boda riders need to be sensitized and regulated. Many people have died due to boda accidents especially young and innocent children because they use bodas a lot due to their affordability& accessibility. We have very many reckless riders with no heart of mercy. It is like they are on a killer mission.

It is the indiscipline on our roads by the negligent road users who end up harming the skilled and innocent road users.

We need to do something about it. I lost a hardworking & dedicated work colleague this year to an accident. His vehicle hit a station truck that was parked right on the road. He died instantly with the cousin.

Many people have lost relatives on the roads due to recklessness abd negligence of uncaring road users(drivers and riders) that even when you are a well trained driver or rider , the reckless one will find you in your right lane and finish your off.

What is happening on our roads is shocking. The accident death statistics and the accident cases in hospitals speak for themselves.

We have lost citizens and non-citizens in our roads. We have lost relatives , friends, colleagues etc and we must act. We need to do something as a country. This is my call to action because no one is safe on our roads if we do not act. These accidents will actually affect the tourism industry because local and international tourists always check out the risks in these tourist destinations and when they find the mortality caused by accidents here, they will select countries where they feel safe on the roads.

This also reminds me of a family I saved some years ago. Their vehicle was overtaking only to realize that an over speeding bus from the opposite direction was approaching. I told my driver to stop and pave way for this overtaking vehicle to saved them from head on collision. Indeed we saved them but they knocked my car, the whole front part , it was finished . I had to get a carrier to take my car off the road and i had to hire another vehicle after 5 hours of inconvenience . This family proceed on their journey, their big land cruiser car wasn’t damaged, they had a strong guard infront but they promised to repair my vehicle. Thry even signed an agreement but they never did. The man is a lawyer with a big job. He was a year ahead of me in Law school , the reason I gave him benefit of doubt. I recently met at dinner and avoided me and later bumped into me and he started faking excuses.What a shame !! It is hard to trust some people. But my satisfaction as a believer and Rotarian remains in the fact that God used me to save his family from a head on collision. I also thank God that we survived even when my vehicle was damaged. So these things happen.

Leaders, parents, families , communities and nations, let us stand against these ever increasing road accidents. Religious leaders and believers, let us pray against road accidents as we take actions on avoid the same.

May God take over every road in our country. May God protect us from these accidents.

I thank the Government and the traffic police/team for the efforts made . Let us join them as citizens,individuals, charitable organizations, profit making entities , etc and create advocacy on measures against road accidents. Responsibility starts with us.

My humble views. We can do something about this.

Mercy K. Kainobwisho an Advocate / Concerned Road User

Email: mercykains@yahoo.com

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