Excitement is in the air and the festive mood can be felt. The festive season is here again beginning with Christmas Day tomorrow, December 25, the day when billions of Christians worldwide celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, their Lord and Saviour.
Christmas means different things to many people, but the common ground is that it is time to celebrate through feasting and merry-making among Christians and non-believers alike. It is also a time to share what we have with those less privileged than ourselves.
In whatever way we celebrate Christmas Day, it is important to put safety first. Ensure safety in the home and be safe on the roads all the time. It is a happy occasion, but avoid excessive celebrations.
To motorists, always remember that road safety starts with you. There are several basics to ensure safety such as ensuring that your vehicle tyres are in good condition, including the braking system, lights and even wiper blades are in good condition. Remember to buckle up and encourage passengers to wear seat/safety belts where there is one.
With technological advances have come instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and WeChat as well as social media such as Facebook and Twitter. This has seen an increase in bad habits among many drivers: Texting-and-driving. I know several friends who have been involved in road accidents because they were engrossed in text-and-drive that they did not realise the vehicle ahead of them had stopped.
Personally, I feel text-and-drive is more risky than speaking on the phone while your vehicle is in motion. It could also be worse than drunk-driving.
When driving, before you pick up your phone to respond to that incoming WhatsApp text, always reflect on this: No message is more important than your life. You can read and respond to that message at your next stop whereas your life cannot be replaced once you ram into the stationary vehicle ahead of you or, worse still, a speeding overtaking vehicle from the opposite direction.
Passengers on public transport such as minibuses should also keep an eye on their drivers. Your safety is entrusted in the driver so do not let them text while driving or indeed consume alcoholic beverages while driving.
In the home, ensure that windows and doors are closed and properly locked before leaving. Besides, do not entertain strangers masquerading as service providers from utility companies.
Commercial banks have spread their automated teller machines (ATM) networks. This is good for convenience. However, be wary of the surroundings around ATMs before inserting your card to withdraw money. Stories abound of people who have been attacked at such places. Make it a point to transact at ATMs in busy points and not quiet places, especially when it is too early in the morning or getting dark.
When shopping, buy what you need. Mind your basket or trolley, respect your shopping list. Do not be an impulse buyer who gets carried away by contents of another shopper’s basket.
Christmas and New Year festivities will always be here. Let us celebrate responsibly. To those who drive, please drive carefully. Observe speed limits as it is better to be late than “the late”. Do not drink and drive. Remember, speed thrills, but also kills.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas plus God’s abundant blessings. n