My Trip to Elmina on April 6, 2019 was full of life and family love but not the journey back to Accra.
I drove in total darkness on a poorly lit road amidst torrential rainfall after my car tyre blasted twice during the journey that nearly ended my life in the April 7, floods.
When the car skidded off the road I thought the jollof I had for lunch was having the best of me. I was wrong. I was not sleeping. It was the air in the right front tyre which had gone out, forcing my car off the road.
It was a tedious process of getting my car back on the road. In the fishing community of Biriwa, I parked, removed the faulty tyre and picked a taxi to the nearby town where a vulcanizer assisted me to repair it. It was about 4 pm when I fixed the tyre back on.
But I felt uncomfortable driving on a repaired front tyre. This forced me to buy a new one when I got to Mankessim.
The new tyre also blasted just after twenty minutes of fixing it, leaving me in the middle of nowhere.
I was now surrounded by dense forest with sounds of the wild keeping me company. It was frightening as it was lonely.
I was unsure what to do next; I had my life, my car and journey to Accra to deal with as the night kept approaching with menacing furry.
I kept calm; I knew God was always closer than a friend. I plucked out the affected tyre. After several delays, a good Samaritan volunteered to ferry me to the next town to fix it. It was unnerving leaving my car in that deserted forest but I had no choice.
I had hardly gotten to Budumburam after fixing my car tyre when suddenly the rain started, hitting my car with such massive strength. The torrents formed mist on the windscreen immediately blocking my visibility.
It was now dark as it was evening on a poorly lit road. Concentrating on the road ahead was not possible as I was being soaked by the rains in the car because the driver’s side window was rolled down to save fuel. No air-condition. An early attempt to withdraw money from the Budumburam Ecobank ATM to buy fuel failed because the ATM went off with the lights at the hint of the rain.
My concern immediately was where to park the car until the tempest on the road eased. But that was a major challenge because the gutters had been filled up to the level of the roads with floods.
Equally disturbing the cars coming from the opposite side of the traffic were not stopping for anybody to turn. And once you slow down, the cars following you can hit the rear of yours as visibility was poor. The greatest concern though was where to park?
And I was unsure whether packing at any of the filling stations dotted around was a safer option given that most of these filling stations do flood sometimes.
Finally, I got a place to park. But was running very late, I felt unsafe using the overhead roads ahead, as it was raining, the roads still very dark and slippery. I had forgotten that the fuel was running out of the car.
God was on my side and I managed to get to the West Hills Mall enclaves. It was after a while before I realised the gridlock was caused by the massive floods ahead of us which spanned several meters ahead.
But it was too late for me. I had missed the turn leading to safety. That was the traffic facing the oncoming vehicles heading to Cape Coast. I had mistakenly kept close to following this big car whose driver was confident of being able to drive through the floods.
In my Hyundai i10, I was now being swallowed by the flood. I was not prepared for it, and neither was I expecting it. I felt unstable and scared. I was in the car alone.
My car starting sinking as I lurched forward, the engine sound was getting quieter with time, and I felt my life leaving me as panic and uncertainty set in.
It was troubling listening to the news the following day and hearing the flood killed three people. Two people are still missing. In fact, it is reported a woman was electrocuted in the process. Nobody deserves to die in such a painful way.
The conversation about safety on our roads must be revisited. We do have to discuss street lights on our roads.
And so must we revisit conversations on support systems along our roads to help motorists and travellers when their cars breakdown during their journey