Expressway Vehicular Speeds to be monitored by Hi-Tech CCTV
The Expressway Police would now nab anyone who exceeds the speed limit of 100 km/h; apparently the high rate of accidents have prompted this action. Yet, pause awhile: is speed per se the only villain? Official engagements compel ‘Snippets’ to drive along the Expressway often and therefore observed firsthand the following ‘new dangerous practices’ that have crept in:
Lack of Lane Discipline
When the phenomenon of ‘Expressway Driving’ was introduced there was wide publicity on the Do’s & Don’ts that drivers had to adhere to, such as using your signal lights well in advance before changing lanes to effect an overtaking manoeuvre – Signal out, overtake on right lane and then signal in when re-joining left lane. Virtually all users faithfully conformed to this procedure. Not anymore! The bad habits of chaotic city driving are slowly creeping in to the Expressways too – day or night. Such practices lead to accidents, period!
Un-roadworthy, old vehicles using Expressways
In the early days the authorities indicated that slow moving and decrepit old vehicles would not be allowed use of Expressways. Now all and sundry appear to be allowed use of Expressways – vehicles belching smoke screens as they attempt to extract the last remaining ounces of ‘energy’ left of dying jalopies; goods carrying lorries with disproportionately high canopies chugging along at snail’s pace; I even spied a Classic Car doing his thing at 30km/h! Slow moving vehicles negate the very aim of Expressway movement – all traffic slows down!
Large trucks sans working rear lights
Driving even at a leisurely 80 -90 km/h leave alone 100 km/h at night could be hazardous as some of the aforementioned trucks with oversized canopies hardly have any rear illumination – meaning that a sudden black slow-moving obstruction looms and woe be unto you if driving on dipped lights as you’ll notice the stark danger only at ‘last moment’! Why are the authorities permitting such vehicles sans any working rear lights? Another accident waiting to happen!
Vehicles rolling on worn-out tyres
In an earlier post ‘Snippets’ suggested that a mechanism should be in force to observe at a glance, worn out tyres and such ‘suspects’ be detained until full inspection of tyre treads. Those vehicles with worn out treads must not be permitted entry. Worn out tyres especially on slightly wet or of course partially flooded surfaces mean: nasty skids and aqua planning – leading to tragic results, yet, totally preventable isn’t it? Why no action in this regard still? Let’s be proactive!
Nabbing those who momentarily overshoot the 100 km/h alone is not the answer!
Nabbing those who overshoot 100km/h limit even for a few seconds will not reduce traffic accidents as there are numerous other factors that will lead to Expressway accidents: So merely catching someone because he/she momentarily touched 110km/h should not be the sole factor for traffic collisions or skids on Expressway – the Police should please take the aforementioned too for serious consideration before zealously docking those who touch a mere, say, 105 km/h!
Traffic Lights – Red, Amber, Green or only Amber or worse: switched off!
Why install Traffic Lights at Junctions at tremendous costs, only to see it switched off or in permanent Amber with a lone cop valiantly flaying his arms about in a losing battle! Here again such nonsensical and illogical practices have recently sprung up. Mr. IGP and DIG Traffic could you please let us have your rationale in creating this new way of controlling traffic? Creating absolute mayhem and havoc – a mountain of traffic out of a mere trickle is the result – making all motorists sweat in their cars, burning unnecessary fuel and wasting precious TIME!
Motor Cyclists in Rubber Slippers
Motor Cyclists should be banned from wearing rubber slippers [seriously!] A lady driver personally known to ‘Snippets’ and quite a competent handler of vehicles turned into Jawatte Road from Bullers Road at around 9:45pm one night in perfect weather when the Traffic Lights indicated GREEN. Suddenly a motorcyclist who was speeding from direction of Rupavahini side crashed thru the RED lights and banged into the side of the moving SUV. Fortunately for the young reckless rider, he went flying and landed on the grass verge – unscathed! He had immediately admitted his fault [obviously] but had pleaded in mitigation that the ‘reason’ was because his rubber slippers had got suddenly entangled with foot rest, preventing him from applying rear brake! And he told that to the Traffic Cops! Isn’t this an eye-opener then that a Law to be introduced that for safety sake motor cyclist must wear shoes – never rubber slippers or even sandals but closed shoe types that could prevent such preventable accidents.
Hats off to English Planters of Yore
Yours truly recalls the time he was a fledgling young planter, the ‘Estate Office’ had a booklet on all possible riding tips including how to properly service and maintain motor cycles – painstakingly written by an English Planter. And I distinctly remember that a cardinal rule was to be ‘properly togged’ when riding a motor cycle; crash helmet, eye-protection, leather jerkin, gloves and of course always to wear proper shoes and not open sandals – the ubiquitous ‘Rubber Slippers’ were then not in vogue! Do remember: Rubber Slippers are a NO NO for motor cyclists, period! So the ball is in your court – Law Makers – for Safety Sake as many young lives could be snuffed out or maimed for life if rubber slippers are casually worn when riding motor bikes. Let us be Safe rather than being Sorry!
Caltex sponsored Road Safety Placards
Caltex SL should be applauded for their wonderful CSR initiative of introducing thru the Traffic Police some apt, pithy slogans in both English & Sinhala and being placed in strategic locations – “Daddy please think of me before driving fast”. “Daddy give me also a crash helmet”; “uncles & aunties please be aware of the Highway Code” etc., wonderful stuff – one could hope and pray that motorists would take heed and assist in minimizing traffic related collisions – most of which are totally avoidable. So please Stay Safe!
A Bouquet for the Police!
Deputy Editor Ashraaq Wahab who was leading a convoy of Classic Cars on a long road up North and back was stopped by a contingent of Police Officers on the Puttalam road in the middle of the night and instead of booking them for whatever; served them piping hot tea and biscuits – usually this column hits ‘Traffic Cops’ hard but here let us doff our hats and salute those Police officers for that praiseworthy gesture done so as to keep the drivers awake for the gruelling drive ahead. It is wonderful unsolicited acts such as these that would surely transform the minds of the often harried motorists to that of warmth and acceptance of the very much human Traffic Cops from now on; after all they too have to perform their thankless jobs day in day out, rain or shine.
Take Care and Enjoy your Motoring safely on Our Paradise Island! Cheers! Dyan
Do please contact ‘Snippets’: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com