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Monday, December 15, 2014

Check Your Nerve On My Curve




It was a very cold winter morning and having landed in the hotel previous evening I did not get an opportunity to see the place. I had walked barely a few steps when I decided to cross the road not realizing that the traffic moved in opposite direction on this desolate road in Long Island in New York! A screech of tyres  shook me out of stupor, as I saw the car braked just 5 m away from me! The driver waved his hand asking me to cross and I sheepishly looked at him and thanked! It was a lesson  for the rest of the stay to be vigilant as I am not a cat that is blessed with nine lives!

In India every year, more than 135,000 traffic collision-related deaths occur and this is a staggering number. In New Delhi,  the frequency of traffic collisions is 40 times higher than the rate in London! Out of the estimated 1.4 million serious road accidents or collisions occurring annually in India, hardly 0.4 million are recorded! These figures are nothing to boast about but a sad reflection of the poor road safety records and smacks of the prevailing jungle law on most of the roads in the country. There are several reasons attributed to the dismal records and a few of these are as follows:

1.       Poor road conditions, not adequate lighting of roads

2.       Drunken  driving

3.       Poor fitness condition of vehicles, over used tyres, and almost zero maintenance of most of the vehicles.

4.        Color blindness among drivers

5.       Bad driving and road safety sense, over speeding, ignoring zebra crossing and overtaking from wrong direction

6.       Very little penalties for traffic related offences and long litigation period, giving a feel of justice denied to the victims.

7.       No fear of law and  repeat offenses

8.       Culpability of enforcement agencies that indulge in letting go offenders with bribes including issuing even fake licenses

9.       Distraction to drivers by display of inappropriate hoardings

10.    Texting, talking on mobile while driving

11.   Not wearing safety helmets and seat belts

12.   Tailgating, not paying heed to the traffic signals in vehicles, not using fog lights, incessant honking

13.   Inferior design of vehicles  as unable to withstand collision and shock on impact

14.   Lack of education  and  awareness, regarding rules of the road

15.   Too many vehicles in the city with too little road space

I was once traveling in Christchurch in New Zealand and the road was almost without any traffic! The signal was RED and one lone car was waiting, despite no traffic on either end of the road! This is discipline, and road sense! The car drove off, only when the signal changed to GREEN!  This is a stark contrast to numerous vehicles that jump the light on every crossing and motorbikes speeding  as if they are on the run after committing a heist!

We can still salvage the situation and learn from others.  There are many suggestions but a few that can be followed by most are enumerated as follows:

1.       Follow the traffic lights and observe the rules of the road! Airlines and ships follow the rules and the number of collisions are almost negligible compared to road accidents

2.       Do not drink and drive or talk on mobile when on the wheel

3.       Not pay bribes to authorities to seek license, or paying fine in case of offences

4.       Teach the children by first doing the right things ourselves. They will follow the good practices!

5.       To be patient on the road and not to lose temper and share vehicles if possible to reduce congestion

These will go a long way in making the roads safe and ensuring free flow of traffic notwithstanding the ever increasing number of vehicles on the road. Nissan Safety Driving Forum is one of the front runners in promoting the road safety on the Indian roads and is leading a campaign to promote the road safety in India, with a catchy slogan of ‘A Safer India. One city at a time’. (For more details The Nissan Safety Driving Forum)

PS :1.This post is my entry for the Nissan Safety Driving Forum/ Indiblogger  sponsored contest.
      2. Images kind courtesy http://www.roadsafetymayo.ie

28 comments:

  1. Very apt and relevant post, Rahulji with all the points and solutions.

    Accidents can occur anywhere in the world, if the traffic-rule is violated by just 1 person...
    I like your NZ example where the car waited for the signal to turn green.
    An ad of Aamir Khan's show 'Satyamev Jayate' also showed the same.
    May we all follow rules strictly & be safe & ensure others safety too...

    Best wishes for the contest :)

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    1. Thanks a lot Anita! There is so much to learn to make things better!

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  2. Good and comprehensive guidance for safe driving. If strict road discipline is maintained accident rate will reduce to a fraction of current accident levels.You seem to be entering a new contest almost every day :) Keeps your mind sharp and competitive.Best of luck !

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    1. Thanks Rama for liking! I believe in doing some mental exercise once in a while:)

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  3. Very relevant.
    I have just one suggestion.
    Let us ensure stoppage of issuance of fake driving licences and watch at least 50% drop in accident rate.
    I was an active member of Institute of Road Training Engineering and know how the system works.

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    1. Coming from you it has the stamp of authority at least on such related matters! Corruption if weeded out can work wonders in every sphere where we are lagging!

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  4. Very relevant points Rahul but nobody wants to learn.The whole scene is pathetic.

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    1. I feel just the same way like you except airing my thoughts and trying to do my very little bit, Induji! Thanks a lot!

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  5. It's sad to see how a little carelessness on our part can cost a life. The worst part is, even if we're careful and if the other person is not careful on the road, it can still pose a threat to us

    Very well written post. People should learn that there is a system for a reason and that we should follow the rules properly.

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  6. Its like the case of knife going through the melon or melon falling on the knife! Either way only melon gets jurt:) Thanks a lot, Ashwini for reading and agreeing with me! PS - Hope you made your own mind to agree with logic:) :)

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  7. This is a topic that makes me sad every time. I remember the Satyamev Jayate episode which was so informative. Your example of NZ reminds me of the same experience I had so many times in the US where people wait the turn because it is the right thing to do. I wonder when that traffic sense will come in us. Good post!

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    1. I do not know when if it will ever change! Thanks for reading Rachna and that comment only shows the long journey ahead of us!

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  8. The worst part is when you stop at a red signal on a deserted road and the driver of the vehicle behind you blares his horn prompting you to move on without that discipline that you so rightfully pointed out!

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    1. I have been a victim too when someone rammed my car from behind when the light was still RED! Thanks a lot Jaishree!

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  9. It makes me so angry to see drivers engrossed in their mobiles with absolutely no regard to safety and consideration for other drivers.

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    1. Looks like we have mastered the art of adopting all ills and consigning all good habits and discipline to the wind, Purba:(

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  10. hi dear nice post
    Please mail me at vandan.singhji@gmail.com need to discuss about one blogging contest

    Thanks

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    1. Welcome to my blog Vandana! You have a nice blog!

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  11. A great post, each point you made made sense and very accurate. I see a lot of arrogance around among certain drivers, it is beyond my comprehension to understand why they act as if they own the world!

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  12. Very apt post with relevant points.
    best wishes for the contest! :)

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  13. I have been a careless driver myself, thanks for the post n the reminder that I need to slow down then simple driving around on impulse..
    P.s: met with almost a serious accident yesterday, thankfully no one was hurt, but I pledged to never use mobile while driving again...:(

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  14. Oh really!Hope you are well and keeping fine! We need to be really cautious while driving! Take care Monica!!

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    1. Gosh yes, our roads are chaotic. Strict enforcement of rules seems to be the only way out of this mess.
      Sometimes I wonder how we're still alive. :D

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    2. True Divya, the roads here are a nightmare!

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  15. I couldn't stop laughing on - cat blessed with nine lives. :)

    Color blindess, is it that common?

    You made valid points, Sir. I have learnt a lot about careful driving living here.

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    1. Thanks Saru, for noticing that:) Color blindness among drivers is a fairly large percentage! Anway those with eyes also do not heed the lights so it does not make a difference!

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