Demystifying what causes accidents at Salgaa blackspot

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Salgaa is better known as a highway stopover favoured by long distance truck drivers.

The bustling town rests along the Nakuru-Eldoret highway – 26 kilometres from Nakuru town and 130 kilometres from Eldoret town.

At the height of its infamy, the Salgaa blackspot claimed tens of lives in a tragic accident involving 13 vehicles on December 12, 2017. The accident occurred near Sachangwan, a small trading centre along the hill rising from Salgaa to Kibunja.

Sachangwan is also the spot where, in 2009, an oil tanker burst into flames and torched more than 100 people who allegedly had come to the scene to siphon petroleum fuel.

But what exactly is the Salgaa blackspot, and what makes it such a dangerous place for motorists?

“The Salgaa black spot is a 21 kilometre stretch of road that starts from Ngata, going past the teachers college before you arrive at Salgaa, and from there it climbs uphill all the way to Kibunja,” said Mr Ziro Arome, the Regional Traffic Enforcement officer, Rift Valley.

Sachangwan and Migaa are two notorious centres lying between the 14-kilometre stretch from Salgaa to Kibunja.

Mr Arome, who spoke to Safari Njema in mid December at his office in Central Police Station, Nakuru, said a lot of the accidents at the black spot actually result from human error.

“Even though some accidents may be caused by machine fault, or other causes beyond a human’s control, a good number of accidents are the direct result of recklessness by our motorists,” he said.

Among the reasons he cited, was freewheeling. Freewheeling, in some cases done for fuel economy by truck drivers, poses a risk especially when trucks hurtle down the steep incline and then fail to re-engage gears.

“In fact, most of the accidents involving trailers have featured trailers that were going downhill,” Mr Arome said.

Other causes of accidents, Mr Arome said, include overspeeding, as well as the use of faulty and substandard spare parts in vehicles, such as faulty brake pads

 

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