There is a growing trend of the use of earphones and headphones by individuals in public in ways that are dangerous to themselves and to others. Here are a few examples.
Some months ago, I watched an interstate bus that was full of passengers leave its station and get on the highway. No problem with that. The problem was that the driver had on one of those large headsets that cover both ears completely. It was shocking, to say the least.
Yesterday, at Alausa, Ikeja in Lagos, a motorcyclist sped past me and I observed that he had on a similar headset.
How these individuals who had music blaring into their ears and every other sound cancelled out hoped to be able to respond adequately on the road beats my imagination. As far as I can tell, they were accidents waiting to happen.
But it isn’t only drivers and riders doing this. I have run into individuals with earphones plugged into their ears walking along major roads and crossing streets.
Yesterday evening, Kathleen Ndongmo, a friend of mine narrated how she witnessed a train hit and crush a young man here in Lagos. He had earphones plugged in and was crossing a rail track. That was the end of the track for him.
While it is cool to enjoy our music (or be able to take our calls) wherever we go, we need to think safety first. The use of headphones and earphones in motion in public spaces can be very dangerous.
A few Tips
If possible, use only one earpiece, so that the other ear is free.
Never bump the volume up. Leave it at the lowest possible level, so that you are not drowned in the sound.
Finally, if possible, don’t use headphones while moving in public at all. As a rule, I no longer take calls when driving. Life is too short. Where the call is urgent, I pull over to take it. If not, it can wait.
The sounds around us are important to our safety – vehicle horns, the sound of an oncoming vehicle, a fire alarm, etc. Cutting off those sounds, especially when we are in motion, is a very bad idea. Remember: safety first!