Safety begins with me

Being a partner in a logistics company, road safety is the first priority in my firm. My driver’s life and my money ( the goods being transported) highly depends on how safely the driver reaches his destination.

I have lost a couple of my very good drivers in the last few months without their being any fault. One had parked his truck on the side road in front of a Dhaba when a large trolley came and hit the truck and the driver standing beside it. The driver of the trolley was drunk and didn’t realise when the vehicle slipped off the road. Besides some bruises and a fracture, nothing happened to the drunk driver but my driver without having any fault died on the spot.

Driving carefully and responsibly is not only for your own self but also for the sake of others on the road. If that driver would have understood this, I would not have lost a very good employee.

Instead of blaming the government for their lack of concern ( we will come to that later) if each one of us takes a bit extra care while driving, 90% of the road accidents can be overcome.

Every four minutes, one death is reported in India. I think it is high time we took this matter seriously.I know you know it all about the traffic rules and safety rules but You and I know we do not take them as seriously as we should.
So for starters here are some facts you ought to know and follow to save your life and everyone else’s in your vicinity.

One: Stop Drunken driving

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People going for late night parties do not take a driver with them without thinking who will drive them back when they are wasted. They think a couple of drinks is not going to do any harm and drive themselves.

Alcohol increases a driver’s reaction time and the decision making process which often leads to fatalities.

Many accidents also take place outside the city. The truck drivers especially are the main culprits here. Most of the drivers are inebriated while driving in the night when the traffic is low.

Government should enforce very strict laws on drink and drive. The offender’s license should be withheld in such situations. All the major truck accidents can be highly minimised by this as the driving license is the driver’s bread and butter.

Two: Do not get distracted while driving

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Keep your eyes and mind on the road.
Often losing focus for a second on the road may end up in a crash. Anything can be a source of distraction, from using the phone, to adjusting the mirror or simply listening to music and getting carried along can lose the driver’s concentration from the road and he might fail to observe a pedestrian crossing, a car overtaking or simply the car in front of him.

Three: The Two Second Rule

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According to the two second rule, a driver should be at least 2 seconds behind the vehicle in front of it.
This gives sufficient time to the driver to avoid a collision.
If the vehicle is closely behind the other vehicle, the time needed to avoid a collision is always less than the driver’s reaction time. Hence keeping a time gap of two seconds can avoid any kind of possible collision.
However in extreme weather conditions, 3-4 seconds is the safest time to abode to.

Five: Fasten the seatbelts

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Last week there was an accident in my town. Two boys and a girl were in a car when an SUV hit the car from the rear. The two boys in the front of the car were wearing seatbelts and survived the accident. However the girl on the back seat was not wearing the belt and was thrown toward the dashboard when the car collided. She hurt her chest severely and died on the spot.

Everyone from the driver to the passenger and people on the back seat should fasten a seatbelt. It should become mandatory.

Six: Use radium emergency lights on your vehicle

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Once I was riding my Honda activa on my way back from tuition classes. It had become dark and I had just learnt riding. I saw another bike coming from the front and since I wasn’t very confident I stopped my activa and stood aside. Only when the vehicle crossed pass me I realised it was a car not a bike. The left headlight of the car was damaged. From a distance it seemed it was a bike coming.
Even today I shudder to think if I had not stopped and continued thinking of it as a bike.

Often it may happen that the headlight/ rear light is damaged due to some reason or the other. In that case a radium paint or any luminescent paint on your vehicle makes your vehicle noticeable in the night and prevents accident.

Seven: Triple riding

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Two wheeler accidents are also a contributing factor to the road accidents. Most of which are caused due to over speeding or triple seats.

Bikes are highly unstable and three people sitting on a bike designed for two makes it more unstable and increases the chances of an accident.

Even if you are riding in two or solo make sure you are wearing a helmet.

These are some of rules we can use to make our roads safer. Apart from these personal safety measures government should also take extra care on road safety.

Certain steps can be taken by the government to ensure lesser road accidents.

The role of the government:

One: Strict rules and punishments. How many of us are caught by a traffic police for ignoring the traffic signal or driving on the road sign? And how many times we just fill up the policeman’s pocket and find our way out? This has become an everyday story now.

The public transport bus drivers drive so rashly, it seems no rules are meant for them. Whoever found driving above the speed limit or not following traffic rules or committing any other illegal act should be stopped then and there and charged guilty.

CCTV cameras and sensors should be installed in every traffic signal and highways to catch up the culprits red handed.

Depending on the seriousness of the crime, strict action and punishment should be given to the offender. The government is so lineant and slow in its work that we have taken breaking rules as a joke.

Take example of Salman Khan’s hit and run case. It has been 12 years since the case continues and no end judgement has been given whatsoever till date. Despite the fact that high level of alcohol was found in the actor’s blood sample the case continues.
If there had been a CCTV camera installed in the area the case could not have been dragged for years.

Is it just because he is a celebrity or the Indian government is rather slow in making judgements, whatever the case be, the government has to be quick and strict with its actions to ensure road safety in India.

Two: Stop overloading of heavy vehicles.

The condition of our roads is another factor causing accidents. Potholes and damaged roads are almost everywhere.
To keep them in good condition the government should take strict actions against the companies allowing overloading of their vehicles.
They should not be allowed to carry load more than the payload estimated for the vehicle. Regional transport officers should take these issues more seriously
It not only damages the road but also makes the vehicle unstable and difficult to control.

Road safety is not just a topic to discuss about. No campaigns, studies or debates are going to help you if you do not drive responsibly.

When you are on the road, do not forget someone is waiting for you at home and is same for the other people on the road too. Be responsible towards yourself and others. Drive carefully. Your life is in your hands.

20141215-234949.jpgThe Nissan Motor Co. Ltd conducts The Nissan safety Driving Forum as a part of their safety driving promotion activities. Started in 2012 covering just three cities- New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai the campaigns have expanded to eight new cities today. I salute their effort in increasing road safety and educating as many people as possible.

Know more about NSDF here.

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