A Reflection On Our Way of Driving These Days In La Paz


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Even with all the automotive technology, there is no safe automobile
Manuel Amarillas Venegas
My reason for reflecting on the way in which we drive here in our capital city is the lack of a roadway culture.  Unfortunately, in many cases this results in traffic accidents, many of those accidents having terrible consequences: property loss; permanent injury, and the loss of human life, bringing sorrow to families.  These accidents are a daily occurrence, with increased accident rates on weekends.  Even so, I was surprised to find out – although nothing should be surprising anymore – that before September was even half over, there were multiple accidents including roll-overs in the avenues of the city and on the highways.  Many of these accidents were due to the acknowledged mortal combination of driving in an inebriated and in excessive speed.  These accidents have increased the accident statistic, and according to the data used by the SSA, are the primary cause of death of young people under the age of 30.  Even today, with all technology of the automotive industry, there is still no such thing as a safe car, regardless of the manufacturer.
What is required to make our roads safe is a change of attitude by drivers.  As drivers, it is our responsibility.  We still have time.  Here are a few recommendations for anyone who drives:

Don’t use your cell phone while driving, and especially don’t read or send text messages while driving.
Keep your hands on the wheel at all times.
Use your safety belt.  It can save your life.
Respect the road signs.  Be aware that many signs are not easily visible.  If there are no road signs, use common sense.
Remember that there is often little visibility at intersections.
If a baby or child under the age of 12 is traveling with you, put them in the back seat.  They will be safer there.  Babies should be in a car seat, which should be securely belted in.  Never drive with a baby in your arms.  In case of an accident or an abrupt stop, the baby may be injured.
Don’t exceed the posted speed limit.
Respect right-of-ways.
After the long-awaited rains this summer, the streets, avenues, and boulevards are in the worst of conditions.  Now, more than ever, it is necessary to exercise caution when driving, since the multitude of potholes create authentic traps that can cause damage to our vehicles.  Although the authorities are making efforts to repair the damage, it isn’t enough.  When possible, look for alternate routes when driving to work, dropping the kids off at school, or whatever your destination.  Help not to increase traffic accident rates.
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