Debating 50 Km/h Road Signs: A Love-Hate Relationship – Annoying or Necessary?

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What is wrong with the 50 km per hour road signs? Admittedly, they are meant to protect us from erratic drivers who believe they own the road. These drivers navigate at humanly impossible speeds, driven by the need to blow off steam, influence either of substances, the thrill of it, or a downright death wish. However, the 50 km per hour sign is undeniably annoying for the rest of us, law-abiding citizens.

Imagine going from Dar es Salaam to Arusha in a private vehicle. Covering a distance of 630 kilometres, the trip takes about 11 hours. Reducing that time to approximately 8 hours of driving is possible for the ambitious. The catch? As you commence your early morning drive from Dar es Salaam around 5:00 am, you swiftly encounter your newfound companion – the 50 km per hour signs.

A friend took it upon himself to count these signs from Dar, through the Coastal region, Tanga, Same, Moshi, and Arusha. He threw in the towel by 9:30 am, fatigued upon reaching Tanga.

So exhausted was he that he decided to nap while someone else took the wheel. He explained that these signs line the entire route, appearing at every twist and turn, especially in residential areas. Not one, but three to five signs consistently admonishing you against exceeding the fifty-kilometre-per-hour mark, threatening dire consequences.

READ MORE: The Battle against Road Accidents, is it Tragedy to Triumph?

Ignorance of these warnings might prove costly. Positioned discreetly between the fifty-per-kilometre zones, in the bush or inside a parked vehicle, a watchful police officer monitors your every move with a speed gun. It is a simple equation – you are almost at the end of the zone, and for a brief moment, you can drive at whatever safe speed you desire.

Therefore, naturally, you accelerate from fifty to fifty-five, sixty, and beyond, thinking you are in the clear. However, you are caught off guard, with as little as fifty-one ensuring a fine for speeding. Picture evidence is promptly sent to colleagues at the next stop, leading to a traffic stop and a subsequent penalty.

These signs aren’t consistently present when you need them. In certain sections, they are intentionally removed or may have aged and require retirement.

How does one discern when to adhere to road signs of the fifty-kilometre-per-hour limit without them? Living without them is challenging, as it becomes easy to exceed the limit and incur fines unintentionally. Drivers are constantly afraid, unsure whether they missed a sign or are outside the 50 km per hour zone.

For some, driving is therapeutic, a remedy for the mind. They cherish the time spent with family in the same space, enjoying quality moments. Others drive to make ends meet, providing for their loved ones. Regardless of your reasons for driving, be vigilant for the fifty-kilometre-per-hour signs and resist exceeding the limit. The next time you encounter one of these signs, capture a picture and keep it as a memento.

Kubhota joined Tanzania Digest as a contributor. He writes about technology and current trends.

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