HomeOpinion & AnalysisCommonsense can ease traffic congestion

Commonsense can ease traffic congestion

One way of overcoming road rage is for drivers to abide by simple driving etiquette — commonsense! Commonsense (though not exactly common) when linked to driving, relates to intelligent, careful, considerate and courteous driving. The opposite of that is reckless driving.

by Tatenda Chinoda

Drivers and riders must always exercise due care and attention with reasonable consideration for other road users, while upholding courtesy and commonsense. The road is neither my road nor your road. It is our road and hence we must share it.

In Harare today, reckless driving tends to be associated with pirate taxis and kombi drivers, while the rest of the drivers would want to be associated with commonsense driving. Nevertheless, if one scrutinises a traffic logjam, say at the intersection of Julius Nyerere and Jason Moyo in Harare, one would notice that 99% of the drivers responsible for the traffic jam include church leaders, pastors, CEOs, MPs, pirate taxi drivers, kombi drivers and general drivers who all turn into reckless drivers. They become senseless and thoughtless drivers in the context of trying to overcome the congestion. Now that Zimbabwe has adopted the Sadc protocol on road signs and signals which has the four-way stop intersections, I envisage worse traffic jams due to reckless driving.

A well-trained driver, in terms of the cognitive and affective domains: ubuntu, care, courtesy, consideration and commonsense; studies the situation obtaining at the intersection and knows that even if the traffic lights are in their favour, it is senseless to proceed through the intersection due to the traffic jam. One needs to stop and create space for traffic already in the intersection to clear before proceeding. Unfortunately, this seems hard to implement yet we are told that Zimbabwe is 75% a Christian community! Such idealised commonsense driving is a function of Christian virtues of forgiving, consideration, living, giving and loving.

If all our drivers could embrace commonsense driving, that would ease traffic congestion without putting in a cent. “Reckless drivers take advantage of our failure at commonsense driving and always want to be number one to cross the intersection. At the end of the day, other drivers join in the discourteous driving and the ensuing melee is road rage. The traffic is jammed! Who is to blame? The police officers who are not controlling traffic? The kombi and pirate taxi drivers? The other drivers who join in the traffic jungle behaviour? The traffic lights which are not working? Or the lack of collective commonsense driving by all drivers on the roads?

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