Staying safe in traffic is an issue of concern for our everyday security. Especially in a populated country like Nigeria where over 5 million cars ply the streets and roads in Lagos and Abuja daily, and very few motorable alternative routes.
During rush hour, say between 7am-8am and 4pm-8pm, the traffic is usually intense, leading to an extra hour of driving, sometimes 2-3 hours, which is quite a norm in a cosmopolitan city like Lagos. Gridlocks are experienced which is a kind of traffic jam where continuous queues of vehicles block an entire network of intersecting streets, bringing traffic in all directions to a complete standstill.
These traffic jams poses some security threats to commuters and motorists. To ensure you are staying safe in traffic, this article will provide you with 5 tips for your safety while in traffic. The number 4 tips would amaze you!
EVERYDAY SECURITY: 5 Tips for Staying Safe in Traffic
Keep Valuables Out of Reach!
The boot of the car was made to make sitting convenient for occupants of vehicles, not for your load! It’s now a usual thing for car owners to drop laptop bags at the back seat, dashboard or floor, according to a recent survey. Items like briefcases, phone, purse or wallet, laptop (or its bag), shopping bags, iPad, and cash are frequently seen behind the driver at the back seat.
As much as possible, endeavour to do away with these mentioned items, it will prevent any occurrence of a car break-in. For perpetrators, they are not interested in stealing your whole car, but the valuable items in it – which can be difficult to replace, not to mention the undesirable cost of repairs. This tip also applies when using a parking lot. Better still get your glass tinted, but do well to get approval from relevant regulatory bodies.
Avoid Talking to Pedestrians; Focus on Driving!
There is really no visible sign of a harmful pedestrian because commuters move from one part of the road to another all with different expectations. But really some are walking with the expectation of grabbing something from your car or pointing of dangerous weapons simply to rob drivers and their passengers.
Some hoodlums even pretend to be beggars so as to invoke pity, and in turn exploit motorist’s benevolence. This kind of occurrence can be avoided when you concentrate on driving and staying safe in traffic. As much as possible desist from talking to pedestrians while in traffic. It may be a calculated distraction for you which allow them the opportunity to carry out their nefarious objective.
Always Lock Your Vehicle
Staying safe in traffic demands that you keep your vehicle locked at all times. Thieves are more observant than you are. They can identify an unlocked door from metres away. They walk toward the car in question in order to gain access, in a twinkle of an eye they are already robbing motorist. Don’t make the assumption that your doors are closed and locked already. Always reconfirm.
Some motorists who drop-off passengers often forget to re-lock the doors. If you have been doing this, perhaps you should be more careful. Some vehicles though have an auto-lock system, so you might as well check your dashboard to confirm all doors are locked.
Avoid Buying Things in Traffic
Traffic in a place like Lagos can be tiring and annoying, with uncountable number of motorists ready to frustrate your driving experience. Long hours in traffic would naturally make you want to rehydrate or take a snack, which you will get in abundance while in traffic. You can possibly get all you need in Lagos traffic, talk of popcorn, plantain chips, milk, fruits, soft drinks, water, even toothbrush!
Understandably, water accounts for the most purchased products in traffic. Though some of these items seem essential, it could also pose a potential security risk. Patronizing roadside hawkers can leave you exposed to theft and attacks. In July 2016, Lagos State banned trading on major roads, sighting the high incidence of traffic robbery as one of the reasons for the ban.
So staying safe in traffic might mean overlooking your urge to snack while driving. If you must drink water, ensure you get it before getting on the road, as well as your snack. It will save you unnecessary panic!
Use Your Rear View Mirror
Just like the side mirrors, the rear view mirror is also important; it contributes to your staying safe in traffic. The rear view mirror of the vehicle allows a driver see through the back windshield. While in traffic the rear view mirror is important as it helps a driver know what is going on at his rear.
As a driver you can see your boot and also identify possible security threats and quickly make safety decision. Be sure to always adjust the rear view mirror to an angle that best captures your rear and of course check from time to time, especially while in traffic.
Staying safe in traffic is absolutely possible if you adhere to the safety tips shared above. The famous Brian Tracy once said that the number of hours spent daily in traffic is enough for so many commuters and motorists to earn a degree. That’s how much time we consume daily while in traffic, so it’s not a wild cry to raise the issue of traffic safety in Nigeria.