Drivers who have had the opportunity to visit other countries would attest to the fact that driving in Ghana is very different. Most Ghanaians living abroad refuse to drive while holidaying in the country with fears of jumping into an accident.
Here are some fun facts that are peculiar to driving in Ghana.
1- Drivers are mathematicians
Drivers in Ghana are ‘excellent’ at mathematics that they fail to apply brakes thinking that the pedestrian might have crossed by the time the car reaches where the person crossing is. Drivers always claim to calculate the speeds their vehicles travel, and as such by the time they reach a particular point, a car crossing would have gone. These funny calculations of drivers have led to the death of many on the roads.
2- No Speed on First Usage
Drivers are cautioned to drive at a slower speed when using a particular stretch of road for the first time. Most of the streets in Ghana have potholes. Even the Accra – Kumasi road which has claimed the lives of many still has major potholes that are death traps to first time users. Contractors usually fail to provide adequate road signs for ongoing construction works. Driving at a tough speed for roads you are using for the first time may land you in a pit. Drivers have to familiarise themselves with routes when using for the first time before driving at speed.
3- Use road signs but don’t trust them
Road signs play a significant role in ensuring the safety of road users, but signs in Ghana may land drivers into troubles if not used with care. A road sign may tell drivers to drive up to 100km/hr, and in about less than 20 meters from the sign, there would be a bumping probably created by town folks to reduce overspeeding. Drivers have spotted 80 and 50 signs placed in less than 10 meters apart.
4- Zebra crossings are for road decorations
One may ask of the importance of zebra crossings in Ghana. Pedestrians try to use them, but drivers do not acknowledge these signs. Pedestrians are always seen running when using the zebra crossings except for places that have traffic lights.
Drivers do not slow down when approaching the zebra crossings and expect pedestrians to run anytime crossing the road.
5- Drunkards and unlicensed drivers on show every weekend
It has been assumed that the Police Department in charge of traffic does not work on weekends despite seeing some directing traffic on weekends.
Unlicensed drivers and drunkards from parties and funerals take over the streets on weekends. Careless driving is so part of our weekends as a country.
6- Commercial Vehicles
Commercial vehicles are responsible for most of the accidents in the country. They are noted for carelessly getting in and out of the road without showing any trafficator. Even if they do, it’s not done early enough to alert the other road users.
Commercial drivers are always in a hurry to drop passengers and pick new ones in other to boost the day’s income. As such they are always seen overtaking while neglecting roads signs.
7- Few Drivers
There are more holders of drivers license than drivers. Not every drivers license holder is a driver. People who have never sat on a driver’s seat have managed to obtain drivers license through dubious means. So always assume that you are using the roads with unqualified drivers. With this in mind, you can drive and ‘drive’ theirs as well.
8- Seat Belts
Drivers, usually commercial ones, only put on seat belts when approaching police barriers. They see it as a myth that seat belt saves life and as such only put them on to escape arrest or extortion.
9- Don’t drive at nights
Driving at night in Ghana is very dangerous as only few roads have street lights. Long distances are not encouraged to be embarked on at nights. Most road accidents occur at night.
GPS usage in Ghana is good in the sense that it takes you closer to your destination before you ignore it to ask people how to get to your exact destination. GPS has directed me to drive on the wrong side of a one-way and also asked me to turn at where there are no roads but houses.
UBER Drivers always have to call to confirm pickup points.
Bonus – 11 – Look out for weeds
When there is an accident ahead, don’t expect to see a triangular sign alerting you. Once you see weeds on the road or its shoulders, know that there is an accident or a car left on the road a few meters away.
Any hope for tourists?
Yes. Tourists are not advised to drive unless they are coming from countries with similar driving trends as Ghana. Car rental companies have well-trained qualified drivers who are always available to ensure your safety. Use them!
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