On September 19, 2019, Lebanon witnessed 21 car accidents in only 24 hours, with 5 dead and 25 wounded. Almost every day of the year is met with a car accident or two due to high speed, passing red traffic lights, or driving under the influence.
Lebanese Traffic Management Center released on December 26, 2019, an awareness video campaign tackling the car accident problem in Lebanon. TMC captioned the tweet with the shocking numbers of the car fatalities of this year: 4582 car accidents since the beginning of 2019; 487 dead and 6101 wounded.
Even though the numbers are high, 2019 ranked lower than the numbers of the years 2017 and 2018 where ISF reported 517 and 504 dead, respectively, in car accidents. Nonetheless, the number is still sufficiently close to be alarming.
The awareness video campaign showed the body of a woman on the ground, with voices of people speaking in the background. As the video continues, it shows a moment of the woman's childhood, the moment of her engagement, of her being pregnant, and of her wedding.
The voices seem to be of her husband and her parents'; one voice was accusing her of using the phone, and another voice saying in disbelief: "Oh mum, oh mum, oh mum! Alcohol and driving? Alcohol and driving?!" another voice who seemed to belong to her father saying: "Oh daughter, how many times did I tell you to put your seatbelt on?"
The video then shows the women laying on the ground in the scene of the accident, being revived by the Lebanese Red Cross. Luckily, she was able to wake up as the video ended and the hashtag of the campaign appeared: #YourLifeInAMoment.
Lebanese people tend to take driving law rules and regulations not as seriously as they should. Many pass red traffic lights, accelerate the speed of the car when they see a pedestrian crossing the road, do not believe in the concept of a seatbelt, drive while drinking, and drive with extremely high speed.
The issue with driving does not depend on luck. It affects the fate of the driver breaking the regulations and the fate of others. We all have someone who cares about us and is waiting for us to return home safely. Why ruin their lives in a moment because we could not wait two seconds for the green light?
The people riding with us, or those we suddenly want to prevent from passing before us, or those we hit with our car, they are somebody's father, mother, son, daughter, sister, brother, or friend. Who are we to end their lives because of reckless driving?
We ought to pay attention to those we share our roads and ways with. My favorite part of Europe was the custom of always prioritizing pedestrians crossing roads. Pedestrians do not even have to check right and left for cars. Drivers always stop their cars once they see you on the sidewalk ready to cross the street.
Stopping does not take much of our time and believe me when I tell you that if you are already late for an appointment, you will remain late even if you sped up. Nothing is worth losing your life or somebody's life. It all happens in a moment, in a reckless moment, do not lose #YourLifeInAMoment.
We already know the rules, but nothing ever goes wrong with some reminders and repetitions. Some tips to avoid car accidents can be:
- Pull into traffic slowly.
- Watch for red-light runners.
- Keep at least one hand on the steering wheel.
- Watch for kids and pedestrians.
- Do not text nor answer text messages while driving.
- Put on the seatbelt at all times and not just while passing a checkpoint.
- Perform engine maintenance regularly.
- Scan 12 seconds ahead.
- Look backward when backing out.
- Do not tailgate.
- Be courteous to other drivers. Remember, no one owns the road.