The Journey

A Diary of my Pursuit of Life\’s Best

Remember, Reflect; Remember, Respond

(Phone rings)Hello?  Oh … hi!  Nothing much … I’m just driving to a meeting.  Hey … I’m almost at the roundabout and I can see a policeman.  Can I call you later?  Thanks.  Bye!

Did you know that over 1 million deaths in a year are caused by road crashes?  Did you know that 70% of these fatalities occur in developing countries?  Did you know that the World Health Organisation ranked road crashes as the 9th leading cause of mortality and disease?

During Hon. Michuki’s reign as Minister for Transport, we seemed to have reined in road carnage.  Almost immediately after his transfer from the Ministry, we let loose.  Like lunatics.  Away with seatbelts.  Away with sobriety.  Away with speed limits.  Away … with every caution that had managed to tame the beast.  Isn’t it amazing how our caution could be so easily transformed into nonchalance?

But wait!  Are we really nonchalant?  Perhaps we are just uninformed.  Either that or we are irresponsible.  The options are not easy, but unless we see ourselves as we are, we will continue to blame others for rogue roads.  So what measures can we use to classify ourselves and take responsibility for our deeds and misdeeds?  Many of us have used our mobile phones while driving, or while crossing the road as pedestrians.  If we did this without knowing the risks involved, then we were uninformed.  If we did this despite knowing the risks involved, then we were irresponsible.  If we do this so often that we think we are in control of the risks, then we are nonchalant.  Using your mobile phone in traffic diverts your focus from the road and impedes your reflex capacity.

Do you remember that day when you almost got late for your big meeting?  You thought you had sufficient time to get from your office to your destination, but when you looked at your watch, you almost had a heart attack!  So you dashed out and drove like crazy.  You overtook at the slightest opportunity, you jumped the traffic lights and you hooted or flashed your lights if the driver ahead of you was wasting your time.  You clogged the junctions and the roundabouts.  Basically, you were an accident waiting to happen.  Fortunately, you got to the meeting in one piece … and then you realized that you hadn’t been wearing your seatbelt!!  Your assessment is as good as mine … on that occasion, you were not very responsible.  The only way you’ll ever get to your meetings on time is by exercising discipline.  Plan ahead and do not let your commitments control you.  Control them instead.

A little wine is good for the stomach.  So the good book says.  A little alcohol, in any other form, is also good for the stomach.  But very often we forget that the key words are a little.  More often, we forget that stomach and brain are not interchangeable, and so we drink, and then we drive.  Contrary to our imagination, the car does not know its way home.  It has only one brain – your brain.  So if your brain is asleep, the car becomes an irrational and unforgiving assembly of metal.

Road crashes are preventable, and we have responsibilities as drivers, passengers and pedestrians to ensure that they do not happen.  The laws can be changed to increase the safety on our roads, but legislative changes will be insignificant if we do not change our attitudes.  We must remember that we decide whether our vehicles are beauties or beasts.  We must commit to the right decisions every waking moment.  Otherwise, we will be responsible for the impact of road carnage on our economy, our health and our happiness. 

They say the only good thing about the morning is that it ends at noon.  I think there’s another good thing about the morning … it gives us an opportunity to make our commitments.  So whenever you get up in the morning, remember to say to yourself, “today I will have the opportunity to give life and to take life.  I will choose to use this responsibility well.

Advertisements

March 10, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment