I’m fairly good when it comes to driving, and extremely bad at parking (I should definitely work on my parking skills!). but living in a country where no traffic law is truly applicable, I learned to move around without developing major (or minor) driving awareness. And so, thinking I am a fairly good driver, I had my second accident (like real accident) a month ago (my first accident being cause by speed driving when I was 20, over 10 years back!). I went out of the car in complete shock. My car was in no driving condition. I stood there silent. I had put down my phone just 10 seconds before the accident because, like everyone else, I think I can multitask when driving. At least I was not on the phone or chatting so I did not have to deal with all the guilt that would come with it…
That accident made me promise myself never to use my phone when driving. No emergency can make me use it ever again. But it also made me look around and see all the basic mistakes I make and the people around me make… and I think that I really don’t want to lose another acquaintance, friend or family member to a road accident we can all avoid by following simple steps.
1- Use your seat belt – It won’t wrinkle your suit/dress and I promise you’ll still breathe!
2- Don’t drink and drive – this is not discussable!
3- Don’t use your phone and drive – short conversations are okay over Bluetooth or earphones;
4- Pull aside when sleepy – the safest place to pull aside is in front of a bank or pharmacy; there are always security guards there and cameras rolling and you can inform them you are too tired to drive and need a nap before continuing your way;
5- Take a taxi when tired… or call UBER – and yes, Taxis are overpriced in Lebanon but whatever the price is, your life is worth a whole lot more!
6- Children under 12 years should go in the back seat – I don’t care if they scream for motion dizziness or nausea, hand them a plastic bag to throw-up in!
7- Children under 5 years should go in their car seats – I don’t care if they like it or not, scream or cry or hit you! And I definitely don’t care if the car seat is hard to move from a car to another. I am a mother myself and my son was in a car seat all the time until he was 5 years old. And when we used to live abroad, we used to ship it to Beirut with us! Nothing is hard when it comes to child safety please!
8- Children should not learn how to drive in traffic – I really can’t see anyone’s logic behind it… If your child is interested in hitting the roads, maybe you can give him driving and road awareness courses, teach him to read the road signs and road lights, play a game of letting him tell you when to move and when to stop (from the comfort of his back seat) when driving (all alone in the front seat, with your seatbelts on!)….
9- Continuously check your car – wheels, mechanics, everything!
10- Riding bikes are the latest trend and …. who doesn’t love bikes! However, our roads are not safe enough for cars and hence, they are dangerous for bike riders! At least wear your helmet (preferably your full outfit), let your passsenger also wear his, and remember that your 10-year old brother cannot be a passenger on your ride.
Last but not least: don’t speed! Speeding will ruin your car anyway with all the bad roads we have!