Thursday, December 4, 2014

            People have a general opinion, which might or might not be true, that Asians are poor drivers. But is that a fact? Are we, Asians, poor drivers? Okay, let me reduce the focus of the question to India, are we Indians poor drivers? Not at all. We are wonderful drivers as we manage the worst of world's roads. We manage to drive between those who do not follow the rules, thereby not following it ourselves making it difficult for someone else to follow the rules. It's a chain. We drive in a road meant for vehicles filled with pedestrians and we manage to use the pedestrian pathway void of walkers with our cycles and scooters. Are people who are accusing of being bad drivers even aware of this? No, I am sure not. Because if they knew they wouldn't call us bad drivers but call us indiscipline, ignorant and irresponsible yet good drivers, won't they? We should really feel proud about it and I hope you understand sarcasm.

            Road Safety is a word that is familiar to us from our primary classes. We are made to draw the traffic signal, pain it and mark it with the significance of each colour.
What we were taught and what we have learnt:

Most of the road safety issues don't arise from the driving or road itself but the other factors related to it. Taking a look at the road safety rules that we will have to follow I just feel like laughing at a few.

1. Drink and Drive is an offense, but you can park your vehicles on the sides of the road in front of a tasmac with bar. How cool is that?! When drink and drive is an offense why do you allow parking in front of bars? You can fix a time for parking like the other countries. People can use the parking machines and get their parking coupons but the ones in front of the bars shouldn't let you park for more than 15 minutes or so. If there is a strict rule laid on the parking in front of bars, half the road accidents will be gone.

What a confusing country? They say this:

and let us do this:
The Hindu: Vehicles parked in front of Tasmac Bar

2. You can break the rules if you can afford to bribe the traffic police. The first step to road safety is to inspect the traffic inspectors and prevent them from getting bribed and letting go of the traffic offenders.

3. There are strict rules but not for the press and media, relatives of press and media, government officials of higher cadre, politicians and the distant relatives of MLAs MPs and the ministers. These  people should stop using or rather say stop misusing their powers with the traffic polices. They rash drive with a flag stuck to the front of the car or a press sticker over the wind shield. Traffic is a chain, a team work. If the first person in a signal doesn't move when the signal turns green the rest, behind him, can't move. Likewise, if one car doesn't stick to a lane, everyone else have to keep shifting between lanes to keep themselves safe, disrupting the safety of others. This becomes a chain reaction.

How are we going to make the above happen? That'll remain a question for another century if we keep asking the question to ourselves or others. We need to be the answer to these questions ourselves.

I want to follow the rules but they don't let me follow it. Yeah right! They don't let us follow it and who are "They"?  We form the "They" so let us first follow the rules to the best we can remaining safe and if each one thinks so there will be no "They" to point at.

Simple rules that we can easily follow without depending on the other rule-breakers:
1. Use only the zebra crossing. How many of us even know that not using a zebra crossing during the green signal for pedestrians and using any small gap in the road is also an offense? No matter how much we will have to walk back to reach our destination in the other side of the road, let's take an oath that we will use the zebra crossing every time. No one can stop us from doing this and no rash driver is responsible for us to not use it. It's our choice and we can avoid it. So, let us avoid it.

2. Do not let children take the vehicle and feel proud about it. Most parents take pride instead of feeling ashamed for getting their minor son a gear bike without a learners license. In the first place, you are influencing the future India not to follow the rules of the country. We have spoilt the roads enough for a safe drive already let's at least not teach our kids how to retain this state forever. No rule-breaker is making us give a bike to a minor. It's our choice and we can avoid it. So, let us avoid it.

3. Girls don't get impressed by someone who rash drives. Guys stop trying to impress girls by doing stunts on the road with your bike. Many guys try to make a stranger, who is waiting along at a traffic signal, to turn by doing stunts like wheeling on road, taking off rashly, bending the bike like he was in a race track. Even if the girl looks at you she wouldn't be impressed. She will only think how stupid you are. And, from your side, what do you gain? A look? What do you lose? Not just your life but others aside you on the road. It's our choice and we can avoid it. So, let us avoid it.

4. Not wearing a seat belt while traveling in cars is something that looks tiny to us as a step to a safe road. But this is a very huge step that can save your life when you meet with an accident. It's our choice and we can avoid it. So, let us avoid it.

5. Talking over the phone while driving. Let it be from your boss, girl friend and I'm sure you won't consider it so important if it is from your wife so let's skip it even as an option, is the call so important than you life? Think! If yes, please go ahead pick the call and say 'Jai Hind' before you die because it's a freedom fight that you are ready to die for right?  It's our choice and we can avoid it. So, let us avoid it.

Most of the mistakes that we do on road are our choice and we can avoid it. So, let us avoid it first before we break the rules blaming the others for it.

 This post is a part of The Nissan Safety Driving Forum contest by

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