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Road markings insignificant in the day, life saving at night

BY: Juliet Akyaa Safo
 Enhancement work done at the Lapaz intersection
Enhancement work done at the Lapaz intersection

The pleasant smell of food emanating from food joints at noon is the best part of the day for most workers.

Majority rush out to get their lunch, while others engage in conversations about happenings at their workplaces and the country at large.

My thoughts equally lingered on what I would have for lunch, as I drew closer to the office after my field work as a reporter.

I got down from the taxi at a junction away from the office building, and with an outstretched hand, I took my change.
Just as I was about to head to my favourite food joint, the driver made a U-turn on the one-way road on which he had dropped me.

I quickly called out to him to forestall any mishap. With a confused expression on his face, he thanked me and proceeded to drive on.

Driving lessons or road maintenance

I wonder why he had no idea that he was on a one-way lane. Didn't he go for driving lessons?

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Then I saw that the markings on the road were faint. Could that be the problem?

What stops highway authorities from regularly remarking our roads, particularly roads within communities?

Road marking

One-way streets are common in our cities. One-way roads and systems should be clearly labelled with one-way signs. This is a rectangular or circular blue sign with a white arrow pointing in the correct direction for traffic flow.

One-way signs should be positioned at the entry to the one-way system and they should also be placed at intervals along the road.

Communities such as Osu and Adabraka have many single lane roads, so the issue of road marking is very necessary.

However, almost all road markings and signs within these communities have become faint or non-existent, posing great danger to a first time driver in the vicinity.

The issue of faded road markings is no different on major roads such as the stretch from the Kaneshie First Light to the Mallam Junction, Abossey Okai and La-Teshie.

Also at the Obetsebi Lamptey Circle, road markings on the roundabout have all faded.

According to a Ghana Highway Code handbook, markings at roundabouts are very crucial to aid motorists use the roundabout safely.

It says motorists using a roundabout must “give way to traffic on their immediate left, unless road markings indicated otherwise.”

Imagine a roundabout with faint or no road markings to aid motorists; what would be the situation?

Past report

In a report published on Graphiconline in 2014, most motorists expressed concern about the absence of road markings on some of the city’s major roads. That, they believed, contributed to road crashes.

“Road markings that were done years ago have become so faint that in the evenings, it is almost impossible to see them. A road marking may not be deemed significant in the day, but it is a life saver at night,” they explained.

GHA rolls out programme

The report further stated that the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) in that year mentioned that it would roll out a nationwide programme to clear the backlog of its roads that need line markings.

The then Deputy Chief Executive of the authority, Alhaji Baba Kassim Nuhu, explained that “roads required re-marking at least once every six years, but for busy roads, it took about three years for the line markings to be redone,” the report stated.

It is five years now and majority of roads still have faint or no road markings. It is, therefore, necessary for the GHA and relevant authorities to consider road markings as an integral part of saving lives and reducing road crashes.

Re-marking

Notwithstanding the little or no road markings on some major roads, re-markings have been done on some roads within the Accra metropolis including the Lapaz intersection, Tesano and some parts of the Ring Road Central.

Other government agencies and organisations have also intensified their engagement with stakeholders, following an increase in road crashes, to identify the best ways to improve safety on the roads.

The above efforts are encouraging; however, similar road safety enhancements must be done on all roads across the country.

It is worthy to note that safety on our roads does not only save lives but helps contribute to the growth of the economy.