For a while now, I have been wanting to blog about car users and the use of safety belts majorly in Nigeria. I guess I finally put the thoughts together when recently I saw this really big Range Rover jeep with a fancy Baby on Board sticker on the back of the car. I looked in the car obviously to catch a glimpse of the baby, only for me to find her sitting on the laps of someone who was perhaps her aunt or possibly her nanny, in the front passenger’s seat.
I was like whatttttttt??? This woman driving has enough money to buy a Range rover and sticker, but she cannot afford a car seat for her precious baby? Poor child is not even strapped behind, she’s in front where the airbags can actually kill her instead of protect her.
It is bad enough that adults don’t take the use of car seat belts seriously. Maybe it is the constant confessions that people are forced to make in church that is the idea behind not wearing safety belts. Confessions like I shall not die young come to mind. Well believe me, you are on your way to dying young if you don’t think that strapping your safety belt for even the shortest ride is important. I mean we all go on fun rides, like the roller coaster, and I don’t think anyone has to beg you to use your safety belt, so what is it with cars? Its a machine too you know?
I hear ridiculous excuses all the time for not wearing safety belt but I’ll share the one I felt was most ridiculous. When I asked why aren’t you using your belt, dude said..ehnn there’s no Road Safety on this street, so no wahala. I was beyond shocked. You think this is about Road safety or Police? Are you kidding me? There could be an accident and you’ll be flying out through this wind screen before you can even figure out what’s going on.
There’s the group of those who seat behind in cars, with an assumption that belts were made for only those in front. You can kill yourself and those seating in front by not wearing your own belt, because if for instance a terrible accident occurs, with the car summersaulting, since you aren’t wearing your belt, you will be tossed up and down in the car, hitting your head on all sorts, and there is every chance you will at some point land on the person in front. Your weight alone, and the force with which you land can break the person’s neck.
Don’t even try to say ohh this is a worse case scenario, because it is not. No matter how careful you think you are as a driver, you can NEVER know the state of mind of the next person driving. There are crazy people on the roads. They run the red lights, speed through a bend and do all sorts, so you just never know.
Now unfortunately, people still have to ride in molue buses and taxis which are already so rickety and don’t have safety belts for all seats. Not that they didn’t originally come with safety belts, they have just been on the road for so long and damaged over time. In such cases, there’s only so much people can do, but in circumstances that you can control, it is good to remember that safety is of utmost importance. Whenever I am in Nigeria for instance, I NEVER entire or hire a cab that has no safety belt or a car with a worn out hook for the belt buckle. I always check, and it has become part of me such that many drivers are always shocked when I decide I can’t ride in their car because of the lack of safety belt.
I am not paranoid, and I am not scared because of death. But if you would take care of your health, and eat well to stay healthy, then it can’t be so difficult to strap on your safety belt for emergency. I don’t think it should be an issue that people need to argue over, back and forth. I am sure no one sets out to die in a car accident. People who have gotten injured or died from car accidents must have woken up and set out like every other day. So it’s not a question of being extra careful or not texting or not drinking and driving. Those are bad habits that we’ll discuss again another time, but meanwhile, lets all stay alive. Safety belts CAN save your life, literally, no joke. Maybe its not something that was instilled in us to do by default, but we can start now and it becomes a part of us.