By Tito N.
Imagine a decent professional worker in the clean city of Kigali who cannot drive responsibly in a busy Gisimenti roundabout during rush hour or any other major cities. Imagine again a dressed-up professional driving a nice, newly made Volkswagen e-Golf on a busy morning bumping into other cars, or simply a Director in one renown company in Nairobi pulled over because they are impaired by drugs or alcohol.
These are some situations in which some drivers are caught and booked by traffic police on roads in different countries. It is a disgrace, humiliation and embarrassment for a decent professional caught in this kind of situation. Nothing is more fulfilling than going to work in the morning, making money during the day and safely returning home in the evening to meet your loving family. The role of responsible driving can not be ignored in order to achieve safety and happiness. Knowledge, skills ad attitude are three elements that concur in safe and responsible driving. In our respective communities, highly educated professionals are much respected, therefore, the rest of community members expect them to behave in a way that reflects their social status. It is an abomination to learn that a neighbor, a Director of Finance in the Ministry of Education for example, was caught red-handed on the road with an excessive level of alcohol or drugs in his blood; or, over-speeding, violating traffic signs on a high-way. In some communities, where white collars are highly regarded, this would tarnish their image and lower their standing among other consequences. For them, respecting the road code is paramount, however, it requires knowledge of laws and great driving skills.
As human beings, we acquire knowledge and skills. Attitude usually comes from our respective personalities. When it comes to driving knowledge and skills, we look up to the traffic laws in our different countries or states. We learn driving laws either in a driving school or in a self-educated fashion. We pass learner’s permit (provisional driver’s license) test and thereafter take on the road driving test. After passing those two tests, we get a full driver’s license and start driving on public roads. Passing these two tests does not guarantee that we know everything we should know before we engage on busy public roads where all kinds of vehicles, pedestrians, animals in some cases, etc. running incessantly. This is why a decent, responsible driver should keep on learning day in day out to enhance their knowledge base and perfect his driving routines.
In some situations, though, it is not that easy to get reading material handy in a way that will facilitate our learning objectives and motivation. Most people do not like carrying books in their hands. With the arrival of information technologies, most people are always connected and hooked to their gadgets and devices. Making learning material available on these devices that we always have in our hands or pockets seems to be a great idea to many. I noticed that every time I am at lunch with colleagues, they keep an eye on their phone screens checking updates on social media, reading breaking news or just catching up on a nice novel they downloaded on their phone. I have high hope that if traffic laws were easily available on all kinds of gadgets, people would dare take a look at them and read about a traffic sign they saw in a cross-road or just an infraction fine newly introduced.
Remember, traffic laws or road codes are constantly updated but our driver’s permits never get updated. We keep the same permits and never have to retake the tests unless we want to add a higher class of driver’s licence. This implies a high probability that most drivers will hardly learn about the most recent changes in the laws. I have constantly seen drivers who ignore how much fine they will pay if they are caught violating this or that traffic sign. Others do not know how often they have to have their vehicle inspected. Others do not know what they should do if they are behind a school bus with flashing lights, for example. As I said in the introduction of this article, decency is not about getting dressed up, driving a nice, luxury car or working for one of the big four accounting firms. Decency is about attitude, respect of laws including traffic laws, etc. This is one of the behaviors that should characterize professionals in their respective places.
Thanks to Standard Gateway for edrivingschool.org, traffic laws, rules and regulations and all we should know abut driving in different countries have been made readily available, free of charge or at a reasonably affordable price. All we need is to invest our time and read about anything we might need and to refresh our knowledge of traffic rules and regulations becoming good citizens who abide by laws for our own good and for the good of our fellow citizens.