It is that time of the year when, majority of Kenyans get on the road on their way to shags. Sadly, it is also the time of the year when most accidents are prone to happen with resultant loss of lives. This December has been particularly bad with over 150 people who have died due to road crashes. There are many factors that lead to road accidents including road design, but the biggest culprit is human error.

The road accidents usually result in devastation to family and friends, however, these accidents are avoidable. They can be avoided by preparing well for the journey and using low risk driving techniques. Here are a few causes of road accidents and a few tips on how we can avoid them by Vivo Energy Kenya;

1. Driver Fatigue

During this festive period, most people will likely stay up late as they hang out with their friends. This being the case, some people are most likely to come straight from the club, freshen up and embark on a journey. In other cases, due to a hectic schedule, one might not be able to get adequate sleep. Lack of enough sleep leads driver fatigue which is one of the leading causes of accidents. Driving requires that one is focused and aware of what is happening on the road at all times. Fatigue leads to one losing concentration hence leading to accidents. Sleeping on the wheel especially at night is also a result of driver fatigue. So, this holiday season always ensure that you get adequate sleep before setting out.

2. Speeding

During this period, there are more vehicles on the road as people travel to their holiday destinations or to shags. In the characteristic Kenyan style, we are all in a hurry to get to our destinations, this leads to speeding and reckless driving. However, when you speed you put your life in danger as well as the lives of other road users and it doesn’t even mean you will get to your destination any earlier. Also, you burn more fuel when you speed making a risky as well as a costly affair. Plan your schedule and start your journey earlier so that you don’t need to speed.

3. Vehicle Maintenance

A vehicle just like any other machine needs to be well maintained in order to give you good service. A badly maintained vehicle will lead to breakdowns and failure of the engine. During this period, we often find ourselves pushing our cars to the limit as we embark on long journeys. It is important that before your start your journey, always that the car service is up to date and also perform the following checks;

  • Tires are at the correct pressure and have adequate tread – safer to replace than take chances. Don’t forget to check the spare tire, jack, wheel brace and safety equipment
  • Engine cooling system is functioning – remember to check coolant level as a loaded vehicle is more likely to overheat.
  • Windscreen – keep it clean for best vision and check that the windscreen wipers are not worn out, replace wiper blades if necessary.
  • Engine and transmission oil – check the levels of the engine and transmission oil and  ensure that it is not due for oil change.
  • Brake and clutch fluids – check the little reservoir to ensure the level is at the upper level mark. If there are brake fluid leaks have the vehicle checked by a mechanic.  Ensure there are no squeaks coming from the wheel areas that could indicate brake pads are due to be replaced.
  • Ensure that you do not overload your vehicle and that you secure items in that car well. Loose objects in the passenger cabin could become missiles in a sudden stop situation.

4. Rain

It appears that the rains are back with us this festive period. Whenever it rains, the roads get slippery and one has to be extra careful when driving. Avoid speeding in rainy weather as your car is most likely to spin out of control and skid while braking.

5. Drunk Driving

This is the season to be merry and as others call it, Decembar. As we hang out with friends and family, we are wont to drink one too many and end up drunk. It is not safe to drive while inebriated as your senses are dulled and can affect the reaction times of the best drivers. Other than the fact that it is a criminal offense, driving while drunk makes your life and other road users at risk. If you know that you are going out to drink, have a designated driver or just call a cab.