Are you a visitor looking to drive for your first time in Uganda? Are you a new driver within Uganda? With the growing trend of self drive in Uganda, it is important to be handly with some of the safety tips so that you can have smooth travels while driving in Uganda. New drivers  have to face the reality that every time they get behind the wheel, risk of an accident is lurking. Car crashes can result from many things, including speeding, drugs and alcohol, calling or texting, fatigue, or not paying attention. You could even find yourself in an accident caused completely by someone else. Here are some 5 important tips that you should avoid while self driving in Uganda.

1.Texting While Driving

In a recent online poll of 16-19 year olds, over 50% admitted that they text while driving. The numbers already show that even talking on a cell phone will increase the chances of getting into an accident, and that’s when your eyes are actually on the road! When you text, your eyes aren’t fully watching the road.  Those few precious seconds back and forth can be the difference between life and death. Do you know that it is a traffic offense to text while driving in Uganda? This offense attracts a penalty of UGX 100,000.

If you don’t think you’ll be able to resist answering or checking your phone while driving, a good rule of thumb is to put it somewhere in the car where you absolutely can’t get to it while you’re driving, like the very back. Yes, your friends may have to wait a few extra minutes to get a reply from you, but at least you won’t be causing accidents or getting hurt. You can also rent  a car in Uganda with a hands free device which you can use to attend your calls without any distortion.

2. Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and drugs

Don’t drink and drive, and don’t ride with anyone who has been drinking. It doesn’t matter if you think you can pull it off—chances are, you can’t and you’ll get into a crash. It is an offense to drive while drunk when you are in Uganda. You should also be aware that most often at night, there are drunk drivers using the same roads with you. Therefore if you see someone driving zig zag in the road, just park aside in order to be safe!

If you can’t go without alcohol, call your non-drunk friends or rent a driver to take you home. Similarly, don’t drive or ride with anyone who has been doing drugs. This can include over-the-counter drugs, depending on how drowsy they can make you.

Also note that most insurance companies don’t cover accidents caused due to drunk driving. That is the reason as to why most car rental companies do not allow driving beyond 7pm.

3. Distractions

Putting on your makeup, changing the radio station, friends wrestling in the back seat.  All these things can lead to you losing focus and taking your eyes off the road.  Avoiding accidents often require a split-second decision to brake or swerve, so eliminating distractions is vital to increase your odds.  For new drivers, it is recommended to limit passengers to Parents or Instructors for the first year.

4. Fatigue

Drowsiness can totally sneak up on you when you’re driving. Driving while you are tired or for very long hours, is very risky. Also note that driving late at night between 11pm-2am is a particularly dangerous time for falling asleep at the wheel. Here are some signs to watch for and do something about before you run into a tree or another car.

  • You yawn a lot.
  • You have trouble keeping your eyes open.
  • You don’t remember the last few minutes or seconds.
  • You drive over the rumble strips more than once.
  • Your head or body jerks from the brink of falling asleep.
  • You can’t concentrate.
  • The car wanders from the road, or into another lane.

What to do if you are falling asleep

  • Immediately slow down and pull off the road into a safe parking space. Lock your doors and take a nap, at least 20-45 minutes.
  • Make a pit stop. Use the bathroom and get a Coke or coffee to drink.
  • Sit up straight.
  • If you have a passenger, talk to them.
  • Play some music loudly. Try singing along.
  • Roll your window all the way down, or turn your vent on cold full blast in your face.

Wish you a safe drive in Uganda.

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