Slow down and drive safely

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 28 May 2018, 12:00AM

It was only a few weeks ago when motorists were screaming from the top of the hill about the atrocious condition of Cross Island Road. 

Many of them were in up in arms about it, describing the stretch of road from Tanugamanono to Vaoala as the worst piece of road in Samoa. 

At the time, they had a point. 

Considering the amount of traffic in the area, it was undoubtedly the most horrible – and possibly most dangerous - pieces of road in the country. 

The Government would not have exactly appreciated the outrage and some of the criticisms from road users and members of the public at the time. 

Still, it obviously hit the right nerve. 

The Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, immediately came out and said that plans for the road had been in the pipeline for a while. 

Calling for patience, he also promised that they are moving to fix road as soon as possible. He delivered. 

Soon after, we all saw heavy machinery up the hill working day and night to ensure the road is safer and more user friendly. 

We suspect that the product we see today is not exactly the final plan for the road but user friendly it definitely has become. 

Today, the motorists and residents living up the hill and towards the south of Upolu are extremely grateful. 

Firstly they are thankful that their Government had delivered on a promise. Secondly they appreciate the fact their poor vehicles will be spared of the unnecessary damage they endured and paid for out of their own pockets as a result of the bad road.

But with the improved condition of the road comes a new challenge, a potentially deadly one at that too. 

Since the resealing of the road, this newspaper has lost count of the number of crashes and collisions reported from the area. It started during Mother’s Day weekend when a drunk driver smashed into another vehicle up there.

Since then, hardly a day goes by without an incident of some sort – including drivers losing control of their vehicles and crashing into roadside properties endangering the lives of pedestrians.

On page 3 of the newspaper you are reading today, a woman is fighting for her life after her vehicle was involved in one of the latest crashes up there. 

She has been in a coma with very severe injuries after her car smashed into another vehicle on Saturday. Our thoughts and prayers are with her – and all the other victims from this crash – who are in the hospital. 

We pray for a speedy recovery, healing and comfort.

Looking at all the crashes so far, there are some very common denominators. Speed is obviously the most common. Then there is alcohol and negligent driving. 

With improved road conditions comes the temptation to drive faster. There is absolutely no doubt about that especially in Samoa where there are no speed cameras up there. We are all guilty one way or another.

But the lesson from all these crashes obviously point to the need to take a lot more care on the road up there and everywhere else in Samoa for that matter.

  If you look at Cross Island Road, even after it has been resealed, it remains one of the narrowest pieces of roads in Upolu. It is still very much an extremely dangerous piece of road – given the number of blind corners - if drivers and motorists don’t take care. 

If anything, it’s even more dangerous now that it has been resealed.

Which calls for every driver to take the initiative and drive responsibly. 

Today, the message is loud and clear; slow down and drive safely. You might be late by ten minutes but you’re better off arriving at your destination safely than not arriving at all. 

So please take care, look after yourself and each other on the road.

Have a safe week Samoa, God bless!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 28 May 2018, 12:00AM

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