This is something that happened a few days back. I was walking and a guy came from the opposite side, on his bike and almost ran into me. A few things where I can definitely say he was wrong was that he was driving above the said speed limit, he was driving on the wrong side and more importantly, he was driving on the footpath. Now this isn’t something very strange or new, this happens every day in the busy and populated cities like Pune and Bangalore.
Road accidents are a primary cause of deaths in our country. Every day thousands of people become the victims of someone road rage and stupidity. What we fail to understand in our over-confidence that we’re smart enough not to die, someone else may not be that smart, and that if we make a mistake, someone else might have to pay for it. And this is just a beginning to what we can say is one of the most haunting sides of our country. Road safety, something we learn when we’re kids and conveniently forget as we grow up. I remember asking a very simple question to a group of my friends once, ‘Which side of the road should we walk?’. Now those of you who said left, are definitely not right. Sadly, more than 80% of my friends gave a wrong response.
This post is dedicated to The Nissan Safety Driving Forum., and the amazing job these guys are doing to promote road safety in India, something we desperately need. There’s definitely a lot of scope when it comes to improvement in safety standards and security measures we can take on roads. Here are a few things I think are really needed to improve road safety.
First, a little something about NSDF in their own words:
The Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., conducts the Nissan Safety Driving Forum (NSDF) in India as part of its safety driving promotion activities. The program began as an annual activity in 2012. In its initial phase it covered three main Indian cities – New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai – and since then has gradually expanded to several additional cities across India.
This year, NSDF would reach 8 new cities – Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Jaipur, Vadodara, Nagpur, Chennai, Mangalore and Kochi. The overall reach and engagement levels have phenomenally grown and NSDF has effectively reached close to 2 lakh citizens. It continues to stay committed to its core objective of promoting safe driving behaviour in India.
I believe in the concept Nissan very ardently promotes, Safety begins with me. So I’ll keep my points strictly to what you and I can do as individuals to improve road safety.
- To begin with, follow the three simple rules, or what I call them, Lifelines.
A. The audience poll: You know what the audience says? Never cross a red light. NEVER!! You know why? Because more than yourself, you’re causing a trouble for the audience, i.e., the other people on the road. Once you break a signal, other may follow suit, you will disrupt the traffic and create a havoc. Sometimes, even a single speeding vehicle on the green light will hit you hard enough to switch off all the lights!
B. The Phone-a-friend: Simple, never phone-a-friend when you drive. Nopes, not even the hands-free. When you talk, you tend to concentrate on the subject instead of the road causing abnormal speed changes and disturbing other drivers. And same goes for drinking. If you call any friend right now and ask him what’s the one thing he’s seriously consider before letting you drive, I can bet his answer would be to see if you’re drunk or not. Trust me, DO NOT drink before/while you drive. Nothing good can come out of it. I know you’re the experienced legend who won’t make a mistake but even a slight delay in applying breaks may become fatal for some poor innocent soul out there. You may not care about your life, but you also have no right to take someone else’s, right?
C. The expert advice: Every expert, yes, every single one of them, has this to say, “If you don’t wear a helmet/seatbelt, your chances of receiving a serious injury practically multiply. Imagine hammering a coconut with all your strength. Now imagine the same but this time the coconut is in a safe-box. I guess I conjured a decent imagery right there for you.
- Once you’re up to mark with the three rules, one thing is for sure, you’re almost 70% safer than an average driver in our country. Most of them fail to do the basic things like following the rules! I know I made that number up but to think about it, I might only have under estimated it. So what next? Well, get yourself acquainted with the rules. At least the important ones, unless you’re a professional driver in which case ALL of them! Here are the important ones: http://www.delhi.gov.in/wps/wcm/connect/doit_transport/Transport/Home/Traffic+Rules+And+Regulations/Rules+of+the+Road
- Did you know that every vehicle has an optimum speed limit with which you can save almost 30% fuel and drive safely? Sure you did! The point is, why you still didn’t follow it? I’d never understand what difference would driving at 80 kmph make in a 16 km ride when you could drive at 48 kmph and reach in 6-7 minutes more, considering the traffic. It’s basic math. Are you bad at math? Being a professional, I can say that in most jobs, 6 minutes don’t make that much a difference. And it’s definitely better than never reaching.
- Now getting to the innovative part. We could all preach on how to do what and how everyone should follow rules. That’s not it. A major part of our responsibility is to make sure others do that too. Spread the word. Use the social media. There is a good chance that your friend who is browsing twitter while driving will stop doing that once he sees your tweet. Jokes apart, I personally think that people these days read more Facebook than newspapers. Probably you could teach them a thing or two there.
- Innovating part version two. Helping the government. Many people may find it surprising but there’s always a feedback box in Government websites. Use it. Tell your state traffic administrators what they could do better. Talk to the traffic police. Be an aware citizen. You get where I am going with this, right? Shelling out 200 Rs. to save yourself the calamities of wearing a helmet is plain stupid. You’re spreading corruption and stupidity both at the same time. Get a proper freaking receipt, it won’t cost you as much as you think.
- Last, but not the least, drive safe vehicles. Don’t just research the mileage and cost, check your car properly before buying. Make sure it is perfect according to the safety standards. Check out the Nissan Quality, https://www.nissan.in/innovation/nissan-quality.html and see how every vehicle they make is custom made for your safety.
Now that I am making it too long, I should end it. But with a simple message. I won’t tell you your life is important. You know it better. But mine is. And I’d hate it if someday I or someone like me dies because someone else was driving recklessly. So for my sake, for your friends’ sake, drive safely. Have a good safe day! 🙂