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