Zinara partly to blame for road carnage
© EDITOR — I often travel to Rusape and have noticed many things wrong with the road and drivers that contribute to the high accident rate on our roads.
But which comes first the chicken or the egg?
Loads of drivers ignore white lines and speed restrictions. I am not blameless.
Since the welcome upgrading of the road from Plumtree to Mutare solid white lines have been changed with some now going for kilometres while vision is perfectly clear for safe overtaking.
This is often because there is a now virtually disused farm road joining the main road or virtually defunct shopping area, or a school entrance.
The responsibility for entering a main road should lie on drivers entering the road and not be protected by white lines hindering travellers on the main road. Zinara has allowed the contractors to follow the demarcations from 50 years ago and lengthen some in line with Sadc practice.
In the Rhodesian days, you could trust your life to the road marking but now lots of them do not make sense to drivers, so drivers tend to ignore them totally and make up their own minds as to when it is safe to overtake, with some making dangerous decisions.
The white lines also do not consider very slow moving traffic like heavily laden lorries going at a snail’s pace up hills, and faster saloons, which are expected to stay behind the lorries while drivers can see if it is perfectly safe to overtake.
White lines should be there to tell drivers how much room they have for an overtaking manoeuvre but if it is a solid line all the way to the next corner or rise they are left to make up their own minds as to how much time they may have.
Expecting them to hang back at 20kph is against human nature especially when they have been travelling at 100 to 120 kph and their brains are working overtime.
On the Bulawayo road, I had a close call as the white lines had faded badly. So they need constant maintenance for drivers’ safety. If the white lines were shortened cost of maintenance would obviously be reduced.
They can also be shortened marginally if the corner or rise has been cleared they are terminated. The present lines, as in the colonial days, seem to go on for a future 100 or 200 metres before they end.
This further just adds to drivers’ frustration and non-adherence to the lines. Speed restrictions have not been attended to since the upgrading of the roads.
For years the limit on the incoming lanes on the Mutare road was 60kph from the outskirts until Rhodeville then changed to 80kph.
On the outgoing lane it is 80kph. From Mabvuku to the tollgate it is 80kph and 120kph from the tollgate to Goromonzi where it changes to 60kph for a short distance then to 80kph to Harare.
When the road was single lane the speed limit was 120kph on both. So now with dual carriage both ways it makes no sense for the limit to be 80kph.
Driving into Headlands the limit reduces to 60kph across the railway line and then increases to 100kph after quite a while, then down to 80kph about 2km outside Headlands.
The speed restriction through Bromley has disappeared which is valid as the town is now a ghost town. The speed restriction through Macheke starts way before the little town.
The above are just a few examples where the roads frustrate drivers and encourage often reckless driving. If the policy makers at Zinara were competent drivers, which they should be, a lot of these issues would not exist, unless it is just pure incompetence and lack of interest in Zinara to give us good and safe roads.
Zinara should use more money wisely on making the road from Beitbridge to Chirundu and from Plumtree to Mutare safer by adding overtaking lanes on hills and upgrading the verges on the Beitbidge to Chirundu road until the main upgrade can be funded.
The Beitbridge to Chirundu road needs urgent attention and cannot wait for government to find the money to implement the whole project.