I have been wanting to write about Road safety for a while and I think this would be the perfect time. I have shared a topic on Night driving in Kerala and let this cover everything in general. Is there a day when you open a newspaper and find obituary pages void of accidents. I can bet on my life and with every possession of mine that it’s a NO. You will be lucky to not find someone whom you know in that page. God forbid, but this is the truth. I have been a road user since a decade. Having driven and having seen various places in the world and their traffic system I think I should share my views on the above mentioned topic.
Roads and their traffic system is the first impression that a person gets when he lands in a country. I think there is a lot to improve in terms of roads, infrastructure, issuing of license, authorities etc etc. India is considered to be one of worst places to drive around, if you take the general opinion and I can’t blame them on this.
Things we often notice in our country:
1. Basic things like helmet, seat belts and other safety gears are ignored mostly.
2. Travelling of more people that recommended on a motorcycle.
3. Usage of mobile phones, unwillingness to adhere to traffic signal, lack of awareness of proper usage of warning lights (indicators, hazard lights) and lane system.
4. Bad roads with so many potholes that people actually concentrate on road more, minimal attention to the surrounding.
5. Over population, two lanes of road cannot carry thousand’s and tens of thousand’s of people. The number of people that use road are increasing day after day, also the number of vehicle but the roads cannot cope up with this increase.
6. Young kids and even adults driving with out license. If you haven’t attended the road safety classes or licensing classes, how are you supposed to know what to do and what not to? Driving is not just about transporting yourselves and other’s from point A to B but making sure that while you do, you don’t harm yourself or other fellow motorists.
As a child my dream was to drive. I started even before 18, crashed couple of times and then came to my senses (small hits and misses). I got my license dot on 18 years and I drove plenty. Even after having a license, I was a rash driver (as people called me) cos I was a speed junkie. As if 70-80 kmph is a very high speed. Hell no, but our roads make it so. The point is that even after I got my license, I was unaware of the lane system, about safety and other requisites.
Recommendations to our system:
1. Improve infrastructure: mainly roads, streetlights, introduce lanes, widen roads.
2. Improve license issuing system. Let’s not issue license to anyone and everyone and just to people who have taken efforts in learning and following rules. In that way, people also will appreciate their achievement.
3. Install speed cams in city limits and places with higher density of crowd.
4. Spread awareness on defensive driving.
5. Construct more racetracks and karting places, for people who enjoy and love to take driving to next level.
6. Appoint a good engineering team to study our existing road construction and make amendments.
There are tons of other recommendations but I would keep it short.
Things that I would suggest to motorists:
1. As a road user, be responsible for us and others.
2. Always adjust and be ready to adjust, for we all make mistakes. If someone is overtaking on a busy road, slow down and let him pass.
3. Avoid travelling with little children on motorcycles as much as possible. Motorcycles are far from safe if you were to involve yourself in a crash.
4. Keep your ride/drive in good condition, well maintained should an emergency/embarrassing situation arise.
5. Make sure that kids don’t drive on the roads unless they have a license, driving in back yards, play grounds or small ally ways (kutcha roads) should also be under the supervision of a responsible person.
6. Most importantly learn from the mistakes; your mistakes or of other road users.
7. Keep alcohol away from driving and vice-versa.
Hazards on our motorways:
From left top,
1. Roads are good but not wide enough
2. Unmarked roads
3. Broken roads
4. Divider missing, the traffic would be face to face and chances of a crash is 10 times more.
5. Lack of proper interchanges (roads branching from main roads)
Instead this would be perfect,
(All images are from Google, credits to respective owners)
Enough ranting, but let’s seriously reduce the number of road causalities. Let’s be a bit more responsible towards driving. Let’s assure our families that we will be back after a drive rather than we may or may not. Let’s acknowledge ‘Safety first‘.