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In this feature of the road safety campaign, we focus on vehicle safety, commonly referred to as road worthiness of a vehicle. This is one area that has been a thorn on the flesh of road traffic law enforcement for many years. There is always a clarion call to motorist – on the issue, to make sure their vehicles a road worthy before engaging on travel – particularly during the holidays.
This week, our usual guest Assistant Superintendent Nelson Kelebetse – Maun police station traffic officer provides an in-depth on vehicle road worthiness. Kelebetse makes it clear that the vehicle is another component of the road user, driven or used by the driver (human beings), and to perform all the functions that it has been designed for – it has to be safe.
Kelebetse catalogues all that make a vehicle safe to be used on the road and avoid accidents.
Good Tyres – All the tyres of the vehicle have to be properly fitted and maintained. They have to be uniform in terms of size, type and brand, and inflated to the same pressure to enhance the aspect of balance. According to Kelebetse, this ensures a stable vehicle that is fit for the road. Fit for purpose tyres are necessary for a vehicle that is devoid of any possibilities of tyre bursts, and unstable driving. “Every tyre has its own standard of operation, so should you fit different tyres, it means you are confusing the module of operation of the machine,” Kelebetse warned.
Functional Brake Lights – These are a key communicating component when driving on the road – as they have been designed to warn other vehicles of the other’s intention to stop. This then gives other vehicles time to prepare themselves to stop and avoid collisions. A vehicle without brake lights must not be on the roads – for it is recipe for disaster.
Functional Indicators – This is yet another very important communicating component – made for drivers to use in warning other road users of their intention to turn. In this case both incoming traffic and that behind can take necessary action with the knowledge that the one in front is turning. Kelebetse said – indicators avert scenarios where vehicles would collide at junctions and traffic circles. “When used properly, confusion on the roads will be reduced,” he said. Thus a vehicle with no indicators should not be on the roads.
Functional headlights – Vehicle lights have been made to give the driver of a vehicle clearer visibility at night, and be visible to other road users. “If the lights are not working properly, it poses danger because other road users will not see you, and you will not see properly on the road,” he said. Kelebetse advises that for the lights to function properly, both the high and driving beams have to be properly fitted. Another communicating component is the park lights – made to ensure the vehicle is visible to other road users when parked on the road side. It is important to have all the lights working properly to avoid accidents, especially at night.
Working Wipers – These have been made to ensure clearer visibility when it rains, as they used to wipe off the rain water from the windscreens. Driving a vehicle with dysfunctional wiper puts the driver and other road users in danger of accidents. Kelebetse has further cautioned that drivers have to know how to clear mist that forms on the screens from inside their vehicles. This happens when it’s raining, with passengers inside. He said all vehicles have controls that have been designed specifically for this function – which most drivers are not aware of. Un cleared mist from inside the vehicle impairs visibility.
Braking System – Braking systems are a critical component of a vehicle – designed to ensure a vehicle stops as and when they are applied – within a certain time and distance to avoid collisions into other road users and objects. These include Parking brakes, normally referred to as Hand Brakes which are a safety feature designed to ensure vehicles do not roll when parked. Kelebetse urges motorist to service their vehicles, and ensure brakes are always in perfect working condition. He warned that vehicles with faulty braking systems are a danger on the roads.
In the next edition – this feature will focus on the hazards that are found on our roads, that have and continue to cause accidents. It will also seek to find ways to manoeuvre this hazards to stay safe on the roads, especially during the busy festive period.