You are on page 1of 6

PHYSICAL AND MENTAL INPAIRMENTS TO SAFE AND DEFENSIVE DRIVING

INTRODUCTION It is very important to have all our sense organs functioning properly to drive safely. Safe driving requires alertness, concentration and using most of the senses at the same time. Our state of health is also a very crucial element in safe driving. Nothing should be taken for granted, simple intake of cough syrup by a driver may make him drowsy and may cause a Road Traffic Crash. In the course of this lecture we would look at some physical and mental factors that can affect safe driving on our roads. AIM The aim of this lecture is to acquaint the participants with the physical and mental factors that can affect our safe driving with a view to taking precautionary measures to avoid Road Traffic Crash. PHYSICAL AND MENTAL INPAIRMENTS A) FATIGUE It means a feeling of extreme physical or mental tiredness. It is temporary physical condition that affects everyone. It weakens your judgment and your ability to take decisions. It may make one misjudge speed and distance and also take unusual chances. It can make one irritable. Fatigue can be caused by, over work, emotional stress, illness, overeating, drinking alcoholic drinks etc. WHAT TO DO ABOUT FATIGUE There is only one way to overcome fatigue. It is rest or sleep, however there are some things you can do to delay fatigue. 1) Let plenty of air circulate in the car. 11) Wear good quality sun glasses in bright sunlight. 111) Avoid heavy foods and alcoholic drinks before you drive. 1V) Be well rested before starting a long journey trip. V) Stop periodically for rest as you embark on the long journey, 15 minutes rest every three (3) hours. V1) Plan the journey before take off. 1

B) EMOTION This has to do with the state of mind. Our basic personalities, values and self awareness affect the way we drive. We are not expected to drive when we are angry because this can affect our driving. Strong emotions such as fear and anger affect the way we grasp and use information, therefore our driving. Our emotions can drain us both physically and mentally. HOW TO CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS 1) Anticipate situations that will upset you, learn to handle them carefully. 11) Plan your trips ahead of time. 111) Expect other drivers to make mistake. 1V) Delay driving when upset. V) Stop driving when upset. V1) Do not drive when depressed. C) TEMPORARY ILLNESS Driving involves physical and mental energy. Someone may suffer from temporary illness that can make him drowsy, dizzy or feel pain. Sometimes one medication for one illness can also affect you by making you drowsy etc. Therefore one should watch to make sure that one is fully fit before you drive E.g. Sedatives make one drowsy. D. VISION AND HEARING Good vision is a requirement for driving therefore all drivers should do periodic vision acuity tests to determine the state of the eyes. The regulation requires eye tests to obtain drivers license, however the individual driver is also encouraged to do this periodically apart from the purpose of obtaining a drivers license. Some people cannot drive in the night, some are color blind, short sighted or long sighted. Also sound can give you information about other vehicles or the condition of your own vehicle, you can be alerted about emergency vehicle, motorcycle etc. However people with hearing impairments can be good drivers by using their other senses more effectively to make up for their disabilities.

Apart from these physical and mental impairments to safe driving, there is a very important element that is crucial to our driving culture, it is called DEFENSIVE DRIVING. I will go on to briefly examine its main features.

ELEMENTS OF DEFENSIVE DRIVING MEANING OF DEFENSIVE DRIVING: Driving to save life, money and time inspite of conditions around you or provocations from other drivers. QUALITIES OF A DEFENSIVE DRIVER 1) Assumes he is the sane person on the road, others are not normal. 11) He drives with his intelligence to save lives. 111) He is always cautious. 1V) He knows and obeys all road signs. V) He drives with the right attitude patience, care, skill etc. CONDITIONS THAT AFFECT DEFENSIVE DRIVING 1) Light condition Headlamps, traffigators etc. 11) Road conditions Potholes, etc. 111) Traffic conditions High/low traffic. 1V) Weather conditions Rain, etc. V) Vehicle condition Vehicle care/maintenance. THINGS TO DO AS A DEFENSIVE DRIVER 1) Your safety must depend on others. 11) Always anticipate wrong actions from others. 111) Always give correct and adequate signals. 1V) Be considerate and be willing to share the road with others. 3

V) Never over speed, over load or wrongfully overtake. V1) Be conscious of your environment safety. V11) Take note of the blind spots and do not drive into the blind spot of others. Further more, I wish to bring up a very important segment of our traffic situation that most of us may not be aware of. It is the use of SIRENS AND CONVOY DRIVING. Sirens should be properly interpreted since it gives information while driving on a convoy. Convoy driving goes beyond driving on a single file to show off. We will briefly highlight how to use the siren and proper method of convoy driving. USE OF SIRENS AND CONVOY DRIVING TIPS PART X11 USE OF SIRENS: (SECTION 105 OF FRSC ESTABLISHMENT ACT, 2007) (1) No person other than the President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, Vice President, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Justice of Nigeria, Deputy President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Governors, and Deputy Governors of States shall drive a vehicle on any public road using sirens, flashers or beacon lights. (2) Any person who acts in contravention of paragraph (1) of this Regulation shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N3,000 or 6 months imprisonment or to both such fine and imprisonment. (3) A driver or person having control of a vehicle who knowingly and without excuse obstructs a vehicle authorized by this Regulation to use sirens, flasher lights shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N2,000 or 1 month imprisonment or both such fine and imprisonment. (4) The driver of any vehicle authorized to use siren, flashers and beacon light shall be duly certified by the appropriate authority to drive such vehicle. (5) Any person who drives a vehicle having or using siren, flasher or beacon light without the certification from the appropriate authority shall be guilty of an

offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N2, 000 or 3 months imprisonment or to both such fine and imprisonment.

CONVOY TIPS CONVOY: Convoy means driving in a line with a friend, family members, associates or groups with a view not to loose sight of known or identified members of that team particularly the lead or tail vehicle on the convoy. REASON FOR CONVOY This becomes necessary when in the course of visiting a place or location only one person knows the right direction, usually the lead convoy.

CONVOY TIPS 1. If you are the guide/lead convoy i.e. in front of the pack, the rule is to drive normally with caution and it is the duty of your passenger to keep you informed of the situation behind you. 2. If you are at the middle and there is a drag, you slow down, flash your headlights and use your horn to notify the lead convoy. 3. Leading a SECURITY convoy demands extra vigilance/100% focus on the road. A security convoy carries a VIP passenger/cargo and must be very conversant with the route to enable him take alternative routes. 4. If you are tailing, then you stay a bit far. 5. Communication is paramount to communicate to all passengers / drivers of any new decision or to guide other members in the convoy. 6. Fast moving convoy requires extra space in between cars This occurs when every member knows direction/location. 5

7. Tailgating is prohibited. 8. Use of hazard lights could help as a form of identity. 9. Lead /tail convoys must be predetermined.

CONCLUSION Safety on our roads is not by accident or chances, it is a conscious effort that must be undertaken by all to make the roads safe. All of us should know that there are certain factors that can affect our driving and therefore safety on the road, there is no end to learning, we should continually improve on our knowledge of road safety and proper usage of the roads to eliminate crashes on our roads.