WHAT IS A STOP SIGN?

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ROAD SAFETY 

I  am not a lover of tennis unlike football which has always remained a past time for me. Even when my darling and favorite   club, Arsenal, gives me all the good reason to put a call through to my doctor and request for a standby nurse and a state of the art ambulance in the event that my team tortures me like they do always, I still love them even with an induced  heartache and loss of appetite. Like Arsenal, the super eagles are almost like my darling team even though as a Nigerian, I am stuck with them for life although a fortnight ago they shocked me when they whitewashed the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon four goals to nil and followed this superlative performance during the second led in Yaoundé, the Cameroun capital where they were held by the same Lions to a draw which was as good as a win.

This piece is not about my darling team and our economizer coach-Arsene Wenger , who would rather save money for the board  than buy players unless they come very cheap which makes me wonder whether he is truly French or an Ibo man from my small village called Amasiri in Afikpo local government area of Ebonyi State. Neither is this piece about our own Super Eagle. It is also not about tennis either, even though the event of June 9, 2017 involving tennis star, Venus Williams flashed through my mind when the thought of this piece was being considered. It was on  that day that the black American super star who looks more like someone from across the Niger was involved in a crash in Palm Beach Gardens,Fla that resulted in a fatal road traffic crash as reported by the New York TimesVenus Williams was involved in a car crash in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.The crash  which was investigated by the  Palm Beach Gardens police said in a report on the crash that Williams was at fault.”” The accident happened as Williams’ car was crossing an intersection around 1 p.m. at around 5 miles per hour, when another car ran into it, the report said. It said Williams was at fault for “violating the right of way’’ of the other vehicle, which was being driven by Linda Barson, 67. Her husband, Jerome Barson, 78, was injured and died two weeks later. According to the police report, witnesses told investigators that Williams ran a red light in her Toyota S.U.V. just as Barson’s car entered the intersection on a green light”.

  Like I said, he crash flashed my mind on Sept 1, 2017, when I was on board an AirFrance aircraft in Paris awaiting clearance for takeoff to London. As my flying habit is, I had requested for a window seat to enable me wave bye to Paris during takeoff and even while flying. While waiting ,I peeped through the window to look at the ever busy traffic of vehicles and planes at the Charles De Gaulle International Airport  when  my eyes caught a very interesting and exciting but  scenario on the tarmac .For me, the few minutes we spent was some form of  tutoring on safe driving .On the tarmac was a stop sign   which I keenly watched  as all vehicles, both utility and heavy duty vehicles approached the stop sign,  slowed down and stopped. Even when there was no on-coming vehicle, each vehicle stopped. This driving habit was the same.

The event of June 9, 2017 involving Serena and the Sept 1, 2017 attraction I enjoyed prompted me to focus on today’s topic. I know most of us who drive will probably take me for a joker as some would boast that they know everything but my worry is our level of compliance when we approach a stop sign or even when we get to a traffic light where the stop lines mandates us to stop behind it.

 The September 1 event also brought to the fore my experience when I visited Cape Town in South Africa some years back and observed how they roads were adorned with stop signs at every road junction and how motorist obeyed them  unlike what we do here in our clime

While reflecting on the traffic decency at the Paris Airport, I recalled that the driving behavior is a reflection of the French government intervention put in place to promote safer roads. The measures include

. The measures include a plan to reducing the speed limit on some single-lane roads from the current 90km/h to 80km/h, banning of the use of headphones connected to mobile, legal alcohol limit for new drivers reduced from0.5 grams per litre to 0.2 grams per litre. This measure was particularly aimed at the 18-24 age group, in which alcohol was responsible for a quarter of deaths between 2011 and 2013.

The government also improved enforcement by increasing the number of safety camera at lights and made existing safety cameras bidirectional. There were other far reaching interventions and I am excited that our government action is following this pattern which should ,with the compliment of the private sector drive appropriate intervention measures to trend road traffic crashes.

According to the Revised Highway Code, the stop sign is a prohibitory sign.”” it is octagonal in shape(8sided sign),with red border, and yellow or white inscription and border respectively. The Highway Code mandates that at any time you see the stop sign, you MUST come to a complete stop.” The stop sign is a road traffic sign, signals and markings put in place to ensure smooth and safe traffic flow. The traffic signs are erected at the side of or above roads to inform or give instructions to road users.  They vary in shapes and colour according to the revised Highway Code”