Death on wheels

16 September 2019 | Opinion

What does one say after such a shocking weekend on our country’s roads that has not been said before?

Many have spoken and written about attitudes on our roads, speeding, non-roadworthy vehicles, drinking and driving, the loss of breadwinners and the economically active, and more. But this has failed to capture the real impact of the loss of a loved one - a child, a mom, a dad, a family member, a friend. Namibians spew outrage at 200km/h. We love dissecting the who, the what, and the why… We love the blame game, and as soon as we have latched onto something or someone to dissect, we move on to the next thing. It seems it is difficult for us to facilitate a change of behaviour or attitude. Unfortunately when it comes to road crashes, we often have no one else to blame but ourselves. From our penchant for impatience, to showing off with our speeding, to our souring attitudes toward each other, we can only look in the mirror when we need someone to blame. We take on oncoming traffic to arrive minutes sooner at our destination. We try to leapfrog so-called slower vehicles, while the precious cargo we carry, in the form of our friends, loved ones and family, are put at the worst kind of risk. What does our driving say about us as a nation, as a people? Do we have such a short attention span that we fail to understand what our impatience, attitudes and negligence can really cost us? We are tired of seeing mangled, twisted bodies in road crashes, but we fail to adjust ourselves to actively make a difference to our climbing death statistics. Every vehicle we see on our roads is filled with humans that carry with them their own dreams and hopes, as well as those harboured by others for them. How many more of these hopes and dreams must lie in marked graves in our cemeteries, before we really understand what is at stake?